Tribes say new casino will bring thousands of jobs to CT

Demolition is set to begin at the old Showcase Cinemas site in East Windsor as a casino construction plan moves forward. (WFSB file)

A Connecticut town has hit the jackpot. The Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans are going all in on East Windsor.

The tribes selected the town as the site of the state's third casino.

The state legislature still has to approve the plan, but small business owners and their employees are already wondering if the casino would be good for their bottom lines.

Most folks are happy that something may be done about the old abandoned theater, but some who work in the hospitality industry have different opinions on whether the town should bet big on a casino.

At Maine Fish Market Restaurant in East Windsor, the staff prides themselves on treating customers like relatives.

“This is my family's restaurant, we've been here 30 years,” said manager Melissa Vamvilis, who believes the casino could be a game changer for local businesses.

“I think it'll bring a lot more people to the area. Hopefully they'll come dine with us stuff like that,” Vamvilis said.

Bartender Liz Guite is on board too. She believes anything that brings more people to East Windsor has the potential to help her pay the bills.

“Bottom line if they're coming to a casino they're spending money so it'd be nice if they spent some money here too,” Guite said.

Less than a mile away at Sofia’s Restaurant, which is adjacent to the proposed casino, staff members are worried.

“I'm going to wait and see but I’m a skeptic right now,” said server Joy Calcasola, who worries the casino restaurant may devour some of their business and the increased traffic could scare away regulars.

Of course, the ladies understand it’s up to state legislators to approve or reject the plan. The proposal is in response to the new MGM casino in Springfield. For better or worse, the casino would transform the area.

If the plan goes through, the tribes would pay East Windsor $8.5 million in property taxes, as well as for extra police, fire, and educational expenses.

Construction could begin as early as this summer.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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