HARTFORD &mdash, The small &ldquo,satellite&rdquo, casino originally envisioned as a way to keep gambling money and jobs within Connecticut&rsquo,s borders in the face of a huge casino resort planned for Springfield, Mass., could morph into a 250,000-square-foot facility at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. Mgm casino.
MGM Resorts International, which plans to open an $950-million casino complex in Springfield in 2018, on Friday released previously undisclosed documents from its rivals that indicate the joint Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan casino could literally double the size of the Sheraton hotel at the airport.
In reaction, the two tribes and the executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority on Friday charged the plan is an outdated rendering that is no longer under consideration, and that the MGM release was a public-relations ploy to protect its Springfield project.
&ldquo,This latest attack by MGM reeks of desperation,&rdquo, said Andrew Doba, a spokesman for the tribes at the Stu Loeser &, Co. public relations firm. &ldquo,The airport&rsquo,s interest in hosting this facility is well-documented.&rdquo,
Kevin A. Dillon, executive director of the airport authority, confirmed Friday that other plans for a casino at the airport remain under consideration.
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The proposal had been kept under wraps by the Connecticut Airport Authority and was only released to MGM Resorts after a battle in the state Freedom of Information Commission. It includes up to 200,000 square feet of gambling space, restaurants and entertainment venues with rooftop views of airport activity. It was projected to attract 10,000 gamblers daily and cost $500-million, plus massive infrastructure improvements.
Casino visitors would not have to pass through flight security to access the main gambling sites. But an additional 50,000-square-foot casino would be operated behind TSA checkpoints, for gamblers awaiting flights or arriving at Bradley.
Alan Feldman, executive vice president for MGM, blasted the plan on Friday, criticizing the airport authority, the town of Windsor Locks and the two Native American tribes for keeping the conversion plan a secret.
&ldquo,Calling this a &lsquo,satellite casino&rsquo, &mdash, which is how they all referred to this in public &mdash, is like calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground,&rdquo, Feldman said.
Without a competitive process to build the casino, local taxpayers may have to pay for infrastructure improvements without a local vote on the overall project, he said.
&ldquo,We know from documents released by the FOIC that the CAA was prepared to make significant financial and permit concessions without any public debate or referendum,&rdquo, Feldman said.
About 17,000 travelers and their families visit the airport daily. &ldquo,No other location in the state of Connecticut can boast that number of people passing through their facility each day,&rdquo, said the 62-page report, prepared for the airport authority and the town of Windsor Locks and released by MGM Resorts.
On Thursday, the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, which had been backed by MGM, withdrew a lawsuit filed against the General Assembly &rsquo,s 2015 law that allows the third casino. Earlier this summer, a federal judge dismissed MGM Resorts&rsquo, attempt to overturn the state law. In recent years, state lawmakers agreed to help the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos, by supporting the construction of a small satellite casino in the Hartford area to promote unionized casino workers in Connecticut and retain gambling dollars that have fallen off sharply.
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&ldquo,Let&rsquo,s be clear &mdash, any site that we pursue will go through extensive public vetting and will ultimately seek approval from the Connecticut Legislature,&rdquo, Doba said.