East Windsor proposed casino clears local hurdle

EAST WINDSOR --  The proposed East Windsor casino is one step closer to becoming a reality.

On Tuesday night, the town's planning and zoning committee approved the casino's general plan for development.

"We've taken a huge step tonight," said Joe Oullette, the planning and zoning chairman.

The town is looking to transform what was once the Showcase Cinema into a joint casino venture between the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

"We've had an eyesore there for a long period of time," said Oullette.

The proposed 200,000-square-foot facility would feature roughly 2,000 slot machines and 60 gaming tables. It is meant to directly compete with the new MGM casino opening in Springfield.

"It's development for the town," said East Windsor resident Bill Loos. "We really need something like this to take over where Showcase Cinemas was."

"It's going to give an excellent opportunity for the future development of small and medium-sized businesses in the community," said East Windsor resident Bob Lyke.

There are still concerns about traffic flow both into and out of the casino, which the town does expect engineers to address in more detail moving forward.

Overall, both the town and neighbors at Tuesday's meeting, are on board.

"We're almost at the finish line," said Oullette.

The next step on the local level is site plan approval. That meeting is scheduled for June 27th. The agreement also needs complete federal approval from the Department of Interior.