East Windsor Rejects the Casino Referendum Ordinance

Proposed East Windsor CasinoPeople residing in East Windsor, Connecticut have voted against the ordinance that would have stopped a casino from being constructed in the town.

Last week, a meeting was held for debating on the ordinance which would have resulted in the agreement revoke between the city and 2 Native American tribes entered into an agreement in March 2017 for the construction of a third satellite casino in Connecticut.

The two tribes Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots who operate Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino in the state have formed a joint venture by the name MMCT Venture for developing a casino in East Windsor as a measure for retaining millions of gambling dollars and numerous jobs threatened by the forthcoming MGM Springfield Casino in the neighbourhood of Massachusetts.

WWLP-22News

The main objective of the ordinance was to block the development of the casinos without town referendums and included a provision that prohibited gaming facilities within 2500 feet of the state-run treatment centre. The chosen site for the MMCT Venture’s casino is situated within that distance to a residential treatment centre.

People residing in East Windsor, a city that makes decisions through town meeting voting, however, rejected the ordinance 198 to 112 in a packed town meeting. Bob Maynard, the First Selectman of East Windsor made the following statement:

That’s over 60 percent so it was overwhelmingly a vote for a casino here in East Windsor and the people who voted for it and against it too felt strongly. It’s on the shoulders of state legislature to do what they think is best.

According to Maynard, the town meeting turned out to be a huge gathering – the initial venue was not appropriate hence the meeting was relocated to a cafeteria at Broad Brook Elementary School across the street and later on to the gymnasium of the school in order to accommodate the people. The town hall meeting had divided opinions amongst the residents for the casino project in spite of broad support.

There was some amount of anger amongst the residents that a town-wide referendum was not held before the selectmen signed the agreement with tribes. According to the board of selectmen, the charter of town did not call for a referendum. Other residents were afraid of the crime, increased traffic and problem gambling in the city because of the casino.

The supporters of the casino were of the opinion that the new casino will bring new opportunities for growth which East Windsor has never witnessed in the past. The proposal is waiting for the approval of the legislative. With respect to gambling commission, there are 3 competing legislative bills. Out of which, one supports the MMCT proposal and the remaining two want to open up the process to other bidders.

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Jay Stevens

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