The East Windsor Board of Selectman unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday that would allow town staff and First Selectwoman Denise Menard to explore the possibility of locating a casino in their town.
East Windsor Selectman Jason Bowsza, who made the motion Tuesday, said they want to be able to determine the impact of a casino on the community and are positioning the town to make an informed decision if the opportunity presents itself. If the legislature passes a bill allowing the two Indian tribes to open a casino outside their reservations in southeastern Connecticut, then East Windsor would ask its residents at referendum if they want a casino.
The legislation currently doesn’t mandate a referendum, but Bowsza said they would hold a referendum locally if the tribes are interested in locating their casino in East Windsor.
The two tribes have said opening a satellite casino along the I-91 corridor will help head off traffic to the new MGM casino in Springfield, Mass.
Mohegan Tribe Chairman Kevin Brown and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler commissioned a report that found the state could lose as many as 9,300 jobs, if nothing is done in response to the arrival of the Springfield casino.
Earlier this month, Windsor’s Town Council passed a resolution to make it known that it doesn’t want a casino in its town. On Monday, according to an article in the Courant, Enfield’s Town Council tabled a similar resolution and decided to keep an open mind about casino expansion.
Also on Monday, the legislature’s Planning and Development Committee forwarded the legislation to the Senate.
In the meantime, Attorney General George Jepsen warned lawmakers that there are hurdles to building a casino off tribal land.
Jepsen said the legislation may violate the revenue agreements the state currently has with the tribes, and it may serve as a trigger to help other tribes assert the right to casino gambling.
A spokesman for the Senate Democratic caucus, which has taken the lead on the legislation, said they are taking Jepsen’s concerns under advisement as they move forward.