New casino still not a certainty in Connecticut
January 09, 2018 3:00 AM
by Robert Mann
Construction on a proposed new casino/resort in East Windsor, Connecticut has yet to begin and two tribal operators, Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, declined to say late last week when the first dirt would be turned, having missed its end of 2017 target.
When asked by the Hartford Courant when construction might start, Felix Rappaport, president and chief executive at Foxwoods, said, “I would certainly say it is fair to say in the first quarter of this calendar year. What you’re likely to see in the early part of 2018 has a lot more to do with demolition and site preparation.”
Although Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed casino expansion legislation, there is some dispute whether the joint tribal project has the legal authority to proceed because it requires Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) approval.
In a Sept. 15 letter the BIA, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, did not issue either an approval or denial. In a subsequent lawsuit filed last year, the tribes and the state of Connecticut argue the lack of a decision either way means amendments incorporating the new casino are “deemed approved” under federal law.
The proposed casino/resort in East Windsor, near the Massachusetts border, is intended to compete with MGM Springfield, a $950 million casino and entertainment complex slated to open in September.