Casino operator MGM Resorts International which is developing a $950 million casino in Springfield, Massachusetts has asked Native American casino operators in neighboring Connecticut to release the economic analysis that led them to shortlist East Windsor and Windsor Locks as possible locations for their competing casino.
MMCT, the joint venture company created by the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegan tribes has proposed developing a casino near the state border which is close to the MGM Springfield facility in an attempt to limit the impact of the MGM casino on their existing facilities in Connecticut.
In a statement Alan Feldman, executive vice president at MGM said
MMCT has indicated that the economic analysis was pivotal in their decision-making, and officials at the state and local levels, have a right to see the study firsthand. Communities should not be negotiating in the dark, and the public should not be kept in the dark
Mashantucket Pequots operate the Foxwoods casino while Mohegans runs the Mohegan Sun casino facility. The third casino under discussion would be the first gaming facility outside tribal lands in the state and was proposed as a measure to protect jobs and retain gaming revenue within the state. Late last week MMCT eliminated three of the five locations being considered for the casino, rejecting bids from East Hartford, South Windsorand Hartford. Feldman has asked that the company reveal the rationale behind the decision. Andrew Doba, an MMCT spokesman, stated that the tribes made the decision based on several factors including the sites most likely to retain revenue in the state as well as the likely impact on existing casinos.
Citing an economic analysis carried out by MGM earlier, Feldman said the maximum benefit to the state in form of revenue growth and jobs was locating a casino in southwest Connecticut rather than the northcentral area. According to Doba, MGM was making this claim only because southwest Connecticut would be furthest away from its casino. The two shortlisted locations are around 20 miles away from Springfield.
The tribes have narrowed down its choices after two rounds of bidding. MMCT plans to launch the casino before MGM Springfield opens in 2018.
MGM has been vocally opposing the project since its initiation.It has filed a lawsuit against Connecticut state officials alleging lack of transparency in the approval process, which is still under process. It also tried to get an amendment passed that would have barred tribes from creating casinos in their home state outside tribal reservations. The amendment ultimately failed at the U.S. Senate.