Instead of the original plan to have an East Windsor Tribal Winds Casino built and open by late 2020/early 2021, the project has been put on hold.
The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes have had federal and state approvals as a joint venture to build a new $300 million casino in East Windsor, CT since March 2019. The planned location at 171 Bridge Street is 13 miles south of the MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.
Mid-December the tribes announced that construction of the casino has been postponed indefinitely due to the economic impact of COVID-19 on the gaming industry. Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos are operating at 25% capacity. Attendance has dropped, and revenues are smaller.
East Windsor Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Richards reacted by saying, “I think (the tribes) are very smart businessmen considering the current situation. I wouldn’t built something with all the current unknowns.”
Jim has been involved with the property ever since its original tenants – the Showcase Cinemas – opened in1994. The cinemas closed in 2008 and the buildings were demolished in 2018. Jim continues to express optimism about the prospects for the site on the corner where Route 5 intersects with Route 140.
“It’s a great location for another project,” said Jim, “but the governor has not been behind helping the North Central area with a business stimulus.”
Jim explained the tribes may create a better market with something other than a casino. “A water park maybe – my crazy idea,” suggested Jim.
The postponement is a “real shame for East Windsor,” which will have to wait for any tax benefit the casino would have had on the Grand List.
Still, the Executive Director remains hopeful, noting the tribes didn’t say they weren’t ever coming back with another plan.