June 20, 2018

E. Windsor casino notches key zoning approval

PHOTO | MMCT Venture
PHOTO | MMCT Venture
A rendering of the $300 million casino in East Windsor.
PHOTO | MMCT Venture

Tribal leaders of the state's first off-reservation casino in East Windsor secured a key zoning permit Tuesday, moving the $300 million entertainment complex closer to its fall groundbreaking.

The East Windsor Planning and Zoning Commission approved the proposed casino's development plan submitted by MMCT Venture LLC, a joint project of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes. The commission voted unanimously.

The tribes are partnering to fend off competition from MGM's new $960 million Springfield casino opening Aug. 24. The proposed casino, which is estimated to create or preserve nearly 4,300 jobs, would replace the demolished former Showcase Cinema theater along Route 5.

"We've had an eyesore there for a long time," PZC Chairman Joseph Ouellette said. "I think it's a tremendous upgrade in both appearances and it'll be great for the community."

The zoning board must now approve the casino's design plans, which will be discussed at a June 27 meeting.

But the proposed development also requires second approval from the U.S. Department of Interior before the 188,000-square-foot entertainment and gaming facility is built.

The feds are determining whether the new development would legally harm the state's longstanding revenue-sharing agreement with the tribes.

Moreover, the local zoning commission must also approve the casino's site plans, which will be discussed at a June 27 meeting.

If approved, Tribal operators have said construction will begin this fall and the development would open in spring 2020.

Under the plans, the one-story casino will provide about 1,800 slot machines, 50 table games, 10 poker tables and a five-story parking garage.

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