As Conn. Officials Push for 3rd Casino Go-Ahead, It Announces Rail Line that Takes Riders Straight to Springfield

The state of Connecticut is pushing for federal action to enable it to open a new casino in the I-91 corridor to keep would-be gamblers and jobs from heading north to the sparkling, new MGM Springfield resort casino. Yet that action is coming at the same time the state is debuting a new New Haven-to-Hartford-to-Springfield commuter line that will allow people to ride comfortably right past any East Windsor casino to downtown Springfield.

New Haven-to-Hartford-to-Springfield rail ine would bring commuters from Conn. to the MGM resort casino .

Connecticut has been pushing for some time to get permission from the feds for the $300 million, third casino that would be operated by a partnership between the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Indian tribes. The tribes each run successful casinos in the northeast part of Connecticut. State lawmakers fear the loss of gambling revenue, and ostensibly jobs, to Springfield.

Third Connecticut casino, to be operated by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes would be located at the site of the old Showcase Cinemas.

The federal Interior Department has been dragging its feet in allowing the new Connecticut casino. Things moved a bit in the positive way two weeks ago when Interior published a notice about Mohegan Sun’s revenue sharing agreement with the state. A similar notice about the Pequots was expected but still has not yet come. The majority of the state’s congressional delegation is asking the Interior Departments inspector general to look into its handling of the issue.

Meanwhile, MGM Springfield is pushing full speed ahead with its glimmering, $950 million resort casino. It is scheduled to open Aug. 24th. It will be the first full resort casino in Massachusetts and is likely to significantly draw gamblers and employees from Connecticut.

MGM Springfield resort casino is scheduled to open Aug. 24th.

Connecticut is also crowing about its part of the new New Haven-to-Hartford-to-Springfield commuter tail line which debuts Saturday. And from the department of unintended consequences, the railway will bring passengers at speeds of up to 110 mph from the heart of Connecticut right into downtown Springfield—to the new MGM casino. The trains will stop in Windsor and Windsor Locks but not East Windsor.

CTNewJunkie quotes Connecticut Transportation Commissioner James Redeker as saying, “The Hartford Line will revolutionize transportation in central Connecticut and is already spurring millions of dollars in transit-oriented economic development up and down the line…Thousands of car trips in the I-91 corridor will be eliminated, millions of gallons of gas will be saved, and the overall quality of life in our state will improve with new commuting options, including easy connections to Boston, New York, and beyond,” he said.

But it also stands to reason that any gambler who wants to ditch their car would take the train a few extra minutes to get to the sparkling new casino that opens in August rather than jump off the train in Windsor and find their way to a less nice casino in East Windsor.