Does Progress on New Haven to Springfield Rail Service Further Endanger Third Conn. Casino?

With the MGM resort casino in Springfield opening looming in September, Connecticut has bumbled its way along a path that may or may not result in a satellite casino in East Windsor. Meanwhile, potential visitors now have more information on how they can more easily bypass the I-91 corridor and get directly to Springfield as soon as May.

A new website has been launched to inform would-be travelers how to move from New Haven to Hartford to Springfield.

The Connecticut legislature has spent two sessions now trying to choose and get built a third Connecticut casino, this one somewhere in the I-91 corridor. The idea is to stem the flow of gamblers to the massive resort casino in Springfield. Lawmakers say they are dedicated to saving jobs in Connecticut that might otherwise go to Massachusetts.


Rendering of MGM resort casino in Springfield, Mass.


There are some significant problems with Connecticut’s efforts:
• The Connecticut General Assembly handed exclusive development rights for a third casino to a partnership between the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Indian tribes. The Pequots operate Foxwoods casino and the Mohegans run Mohegan Sun casino, both in the eastern Connecticut. There are significant legal questions as to constitutionality of the state not opening the process to other to development the new gaming operation.

• The process for a third casino is stalled in the general assembly.


Rendering of proposed Mohegan – Mashantucket casino, East Windsor, Conn.


• Attention has now turned to a new, potential casino in Bridgeport. Leave it to the state’s largest city to throw a wrench in things. Yet, they can use the economic development and the jobs a resort casino would bring. They can tap into the Greater New York City market. And they already have the problems a casino can bring so a few more headaches don’t matter.


Rendering of proposed MGM Bridgeport casino.


• The MGM Springfield casino is opening in eight months.

• New, easier transportation from New Haven to Hartford to Springfield allows visitors to hop a train in New Haven and be at a shiny, brand-spankin’-new resort in western Massachusetts instead of driving to a proposed, little satellite casino in East Windsor.

Which one would you choose?