There has been a distinct trend recently, with casinos springing up in the Northeast (and other areas of the mainland United States) region of Connecticut and surrounding regions. MGM casino, for example, is leading a group of new casinos that are taking advantage of relaxed gambling laws to build gaming halls and bring in new visitors.
Not surprisingly, the above moves have been met with much success – enough that legislators in East Hartford are feeling left out. To combat the siphoning of gaming revenues that these nearby localities are indulging in, East Hartford officials convened with leaders from the Native American Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to consider upping the stakes on the existing revenue from the casinos already in operation. These casinos, the Foxwoods Resort and the Mohegan Sun, are losing traffic as a result of MGMs $800 million venture; the plan is to convert the Showcase Cinemas into a new, $138 million dollar casino to combat the actions of MGM Resorts International.
The people involved are East Hartford, Connecticut’s Mayor Marcia Leclerc, Glastonbury’s Anthony Ravosa Jr., Mohegan Tribe’s chief of staff for external affairs Charles Bunnell, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council’s public affairs director William Satti, and a host of aides. Although all involved were instrumental in establishing the intent to build the casino, it was Mayor Marcia Leclerc that got it off the ground by letting the right people know East Hartford is open to having a casino built.
There has been history for some time between East Hartford and the local Indian Tribes. For years now, as part of the State licensure agreement, the Foxwoods Resort and the Mohegan Sun have distributed money to East Hartford from their casino fund; the problem is that a relative lack of business in recent years has seen the figure drop by several hundred thousand dollars. According to Mayor Leclerc, however, the money is the lesser of the two problems that resulted: job loss is more significant. The new casino will infuse some much-needed commerce into the Silver Lane corridor of East Hartford, and help the new developments – not directly connected to the casino – that will be constructed nearby, such as a retail outlet mall and the restaurants and bars that often come with the rise of a new casino.
As for the physical details of East Hartford’s new planned casino, it will have several thousand seats at the Slots table, as well as the same number at the Table Games. There will be several restaurants, a beer hall and garden, a couple of bars, clubs and almost a thousand parking spaces for attendants.