East Windsor residents vote against casino referendum

Connecticut state legislature still has to approve any third casino being built in the state

East Windsor casino rendering (WTNH)

EAST WINDSOR, Conn. (WWLP) – The people of East Windsor, Connecticut have spoken, and they want a casino in town.

“It’s on the shoulders of state legislature to do what they think is best,” said East Windsor First Selectman Bob Maynard.

East Windsor makes town decisions through a town meeting, in which residents in attendance vote on an ordinance. The ordinance presented at a special town meeting Thursday night was to stop a casino from being built at the former Showcase Cinemas because of its proximity to a residential treatment center.

Maynard said they were overwhelmed with the number of people in attendance. The meeting had to move from the town hall to across the street at the Broad Brook Elementary School. It was first held in the cafeteria but had to move to the gymnasium due to the need for more space. He said after two hours of discussion, some residents spent over an hour waiting in line to vote on the issue.

According to the town clerk’s office, the final vote was 198 against sending a petition to a referendum (in favor of a casino) and 112 for the petition (against a casino).

“That’s over 60 percent so it was overwhelmingly a vote for a casino here in East Windsor and the people who voted for it and against it too felt strongly,” Maynard told 22News.

In the days leading up to the vote, one town selectman paid for signs across town urging residents to vote against the petition, and for a casino.

22News got a copy of a letter sent in the mail to East Windsor residents. It was paid for by MGM Resorts International Operations and urged residents to vote for the ordinance, which would essentially be against a casino in town. The letter claimed that East Windsor “negotiated in secret behind closed doors” and “decided without a town-wide referendum” to make an agreement with MMCT Venture, the combined company of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes, to build the casino at the former Showcase Cinemas.

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis has previously said while another casino just 15 minutes across the state line from Springfield would add to the competition, he’s confident in the success of the MGM brand and the resort’s unique urban style.

The Connecticut state legislature still has to approve any third casino being built in the state.