HARTFORD--Within hours of the deadline for towns to submit proposals to get a casino, five locations made pitches.
It was already known that interested parties in East Hartford had strong interest in bringing a casino to town--the mayor has backed the plan--and officials for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks has expressed interest in building a casino at the airport. The airport's application was incomplete because it didn't have town approval yet, but officials think the new board coming in after the elections may be more interested in the proposal.
At the end of the proposal period, two locations in Windsor Locks had entered proposals, though some town officials don't fully support bringing a casino to town. It's unknown what the other location in Windsor Locks is.
The other three location pitches were in East Hartford, East Windsor and Hartford.
Hartford made a surprising last minute entry into the race, just days after a new mayor was elected to run the city.
Current Mayor Pedro Segarra, who made the proposal despite the fact that he won't be in office when the casino would open, released a statement:
My administration has sought to attract businesses that create jobs and generate needed revenue for the city of Hartford. Any opportunities for significant capital investments in the city of Hartford should be reviewed and analyzed to determine what, if any, detriments or benefits could impact the city.
It is our understanding that gaming is a probability for the Greater Hartford region and regardless of the location, the Capital City will feel its impact. For this reason, we have responded with our own proposal to keep that door open so that the next administration and the residents of Hartford will have the opportunity to weigh in on the process and make a final determination of what is in the best interest of our city.
The casino will be developed by MMCT Venture, a company created jointly by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, which run Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
"This process began to preserve thousands of jobs and millions in revenue which will leave Connecticut, the loss of which MGM has repeatedly acknowledged is necessary to make their project in Springfield a success," said Kevin Brown, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council. "As members of communities with deep ties to this state, we’re simply not going to let that happen without a fight. With this phase complete, we can now begin to engage interested parties and save Connecticut jobs."
The decision will be made, in part, by Pearce Real Estate, a Connecticut-based real estate company that administered the request for proposals. The decision will be made on the proposals themselves, as well as each place's ability and willingness to work with the town, landowner, developer and other involved parties to get the project done quickly.
The decision is expected to be made by December 15, 2015.