Demolition of the old Showcase Cinemas in East Windsor began on Monday (WFSB)
EAST WINDSOR, CT (AP/WFSB) –
Two Connecticut tribes that are proposing a jointly run casino in East Windsor held a demolition ceremony in the town on Monday.
Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler marked Monday’s event the demolition of the former Showcase Cinemas, the proposed site of the $300 million casino.
It’s not a done deal yet, but the state’s two tribes are getting ready to roll on a third casino.
They started demolishing the old Showcase Cinema in East Windsor, where they are planning to put slot machines and table games.
The tribes got permission from the state, but they are waiting for the federal government to rule on whether this arrangement doesn’t violate the current compact.
The ruling is taking a long time and the tribes and the town say there’s a lot at stake.
"Two tribes working together in a partnership with the state of Connecticut, for 26 years producing 20,000 jobs and $7 billion in revenue,” Brown said.
"Overall our casino is expected to create nearly 4,000 permanent jobs, and 2,300 construction jobs for the building trades,” Butler said.
The two federally recognized tribes separately operate Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino.
They are planning the casino to compete with a new MGM Resorts casino scheduled to open in Springfield, Massachusetts, in September.
The tribes and the state are worried about losing hundreds of jobs.
"These two men have fought hard for their tribes, and the people in their tribes, and they’ve fought hard for Connecticut,” said Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
Holding up the process is a decision by the interior department and its secretary Ryan Zinke, who was supposed to make a decision within 45 days.
That was back in October.
The tribes and the state believe MGM and its high paid lobbyists have a strong influence over the feds.
The issue is whether a casino off tribal land violates the compact between the state and the tribes.
Meanwhile, the tribes and the town of East Windsor want to get the ball rolling.
"I told people when that building comes down then I’ll be convinced it’s going to happen. Now it’s coming down I am still not so convinced. Next step is to see construction actually start,” said East Windsor Town Manager Bob Maynard.
The plan was to have this third casino up this fall, but the wild card is still the decision by the feds, however some are optimistic.
The General Assembly’s Public Safety Committee, meanwhile, has scheduled a hearing for Thursday on a bill sought by lawmakers from Bridgeport and New Haven that calls for a competitive process for developing a casino.
Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.