Connecticut tribes release request for border casino sites

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HARTFORD — The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes are officially seeking potential locations for a jointly run casino north of Hartford to compete with a casino planned for nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.

Tribal leaders on Thursday delivered their request for proposals to the state’s Department of Consumer Protection, which will post the document online. Completed applications are due to the tribes by 4 p.m. on Nov. 6.

The tribes expect to make a decision by Dec. 15 on the site that would serve 10,000 daily visitors. They will then need the General Assembly to pass legislation allowing a third tribal casino. Lawmakers return to Hartford in February.

Among other things, the request for proposals asks about the nearest highway, the kinds of available utilities and how any adjacent properties are being used.

Several Connecticut towns have been considering bids for weeks if not months. Those towns include East Hartford, East Windsor and Enfield.

On the same day the tribal leaders made their announcement, the town of Enfield held a meeting for public comment on the proposed casino. Management at Enfield Square want to build the casino on mall property, but the town council is still deciding if they’ll submit an application. Residents who spoke up at the meeting had mixed opinions.

“The traffic in that part of town is already an issue and just the stigma of gambling, it just doesn’t sit right in my mind,” said Enfield resident Carl Veilleux, who’s against a casino coming to Enfield.

Gina Sullivan, another Enfield resident, is for it.

“The mall is dying a slow death. We need tax revenue. We need jobs. Property taxes are sky high in this town. Taxpayers can’t do it anymore. We need something,” Sullivan said.