HARTFORD, CT—An East Hartford developer isn’t giving up on his push to convince state lawmakers that his East Hartford location is the best site for a third Connecticut casino.
Tony Ravosa of Silver Lane Partners, LLC, which has secured the rights to purchase the former Showcase Cinemas off I-84, said Tuesday that lawmakers should increase the gaming tax on both slots and table games at the new casino.
Ravosa is proposing that the state get 35 percent of slot revenues and 15 percent of table game revenues. He said if there were 2,000 slot machines and 150 table games then the state could generate an additional $30 million annually, which could be put toward funding improvements to the XL Center in Hartford and other area attractions.
“A third casino has to achieve a greater public purpose,” Ravosa said.
He said it’s also incumbent upon the General Assembly “achieve the greatest deal for Connecticut taxpayers.”
Sen. Tim Larson, D-East Hartford, who co-chairs the Public Safety and Security Committee, which deals with gaming issues, said he also believes that some portion of the revenue produced by a new casino should go back to supporting the tourism industry in the state.
However, Larson pointed out that Ravosa is no longer in the running as a location for a new casino.
Last month, MMCT, the joint business venture of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes, narrowed its options for a third casino to East Windsor and Windsor Locks. It held public forums in both locations to get a sense of how welcoming the towns would be to casino development.
The tribes are still considering Bradley International Airport and the Thrall Tobacco Farm site on Old County Road as locations for a casino in Windsor Locks, while the site of the old Showcase Cinemas in East Windsor is also in the running. The East Hartford location being pitched by Ravosa is no longer on their list and they are the only entity that has been allowed to move forward with building a third casino off tribal land in Connecticut.
“Respectfully, this business decision will be made by the General Assembly, the governor and MMCT,” Larson said. “ It’s rather bold that this developer is already chopping up the revenue when we aren’t nearly to that point yet while dictating to businesses how the revenue will be spent.”
The Public Safety and Security Committee and the full General Assembly are expected to take up legislation regarding the third casino later this year.
Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he plans on borrowing $250 million to make improvements to the XL Center in Hartford to optimize the building’s revenue streams and increase the efficiency of the mechanical and operational systems.