Sarno: 3rd Connecticut casino will be “glorified slots parlor”

Mayor released statement after MGM's lawsuit was rejected

east windsor casino rendering web
Artistic rendering of the proposed joint Mohegan-Mashantucket Pequot gaming facility in East Windsor, Connecticut. Image Courtesy: MMCT Venture

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Dismissing a proposed third Connecticut casino as nothing more than a “glorified slots parlor,” Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno expressed continued confidence in MGM’s project to build a $950 million resort-casino in his city.

The mayor released a statement Thursday, one day after the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected MGM’s lawsuit against the State of Connecticut. The suit questioned the state’s deal with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a new casino on non-tribal land.

The tribes’ proposed facility would be located off Interstate 91 in East Windsor, just minutest from the Massachusetts state line. It is designed to lure Hartford-area gamers who may otherwise have made the slightly longer drive to Springfield to play at MGM. The tribes have said that the facility is necessary to protect jobs and revenue for Connecticut.

Continuing Coverage: MGM Springfield casino project

MGM had argued that allowing the tribes to move forward with a gaming facility put them at a disadvantage. The company has expressed an interest in building a casino in southwestern Connecticut, but had not settled on a specific location or made a formal proposal. The court said that MGM’s fears were only speculative.

In a statement sent to 22News, Sarno said:

“MGM Resorts International is a world-renowned company and while I appreciate their continued belief and investment in our Springfield, simply put, their and my focus should and will be on what we can direct and control- continuing to put a first-class resort establishment in Springfield. This in itself will quell any potential competition of a glorified slots parlor in a neighboring state,” Sarno wrote.

MGM, meanwhile says that the appeals court ruling does not prevent them from suing if Gov. Dannel Malloy actually signs the bill authorizing the East Windsor casino.

“We view today’s ruling as nothing more than a matter of timing, and remain undeterred in our goal of having the opportunity to compete in Connecticut,” MGM Senior Vice President and Legal Counsel Uri Clinton said.

MGM Springfield is expected to open its doors in the fall of 2018. The Connecticut tribes have expressed a desire to have their East Windsor facility open before then.