January 28, 2019

E. Windsor tribal casino rebranded

Rendering | Tribal Winds Casino
Rendering | Tribal Winds Casino
A rendering of the proposed $300 million casino in East Windsor.
Rendering | Tribal Winds Casino
Photo | Tribal Winds Casino
MMCT Venture, the proposed $300 million casino in East Windsor, has been rebranded as Tribal Winds Casino.

Tribal leaders of Connecticut's first off-reservation casino in East Windsor have rebranded the proposed $300 million project, which has been delayed over changes to the state's long-standing gaming compacts.

The joint gaming venue by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes, formerly known as MMCT Venture, has been renamed as Tribal Winds Casino.

The tribes are partnering to remain competitive with MGM Springfield, which opened a $960 million casino and entertainment complex in Aug. 2018.

The rebranded casino also includes a new logo and hiring goal for construction workers and staff at the proposed one-story facility.

Tribal officials said the venue, the nation's first joint tribal gaming project, will employ at least 2,000 construction workers and 2,000 permanent staffers upon its opening. The casino will also support another 1,000 indirect jobs at small business vendors, they said.

At least 650 jobs will be set aside for Hartford area residents.

Rodney Butler, Foxwoods' interim CEO and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council chairman, said the project is ready to break ground, but the development remains in limbo as former U.S. Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke has refused to sign off on changes to the state's gaming compact with the Mashantucket tribe.

Zinke resigned in Dec. 2018 amid several probes aimed at him, including one regarding his refusal to approve changes to revenue-sharing agreements between the tribes.

The Mashantucket tribe last year asked a federal judge to reconsider its lawsuit against Zinke, which alleged he was coaxed into blocking the proposed East Windsor casino amid a lobbying campaign from MGM Resorts International and Nevada Republican lawmakers.

Sen. Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) has co-sponsored a bill that would allow Connecticut to bypass the federal government's role in approving changes to tribal compacts required to open the East Windsor casino.

The East Windsor project remains in flux as MGM Springfield last week completed its fifth full month in operation.

While MGM has poached some gaming revenues from Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, Butler and Ray Pineault, Mohegan's president and general manager, recently told Hartford Business Journal that MGM has had less of an impact on its gaming operations than projected.

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