Segarra says “No” to Casino
December 9, 2011

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is making his first appearance on Face the State since being elected to a full term.  During the taping we talked his plans for the next four years and we concentrated on development.  I wanted to know his ideas for filling  empty buildings  and finally getting something built on the acres and acres of vacant land that scar the downtown area, some of which have been empty for thirty years.

The vision the mayor has does not include a casino.  I asked him if the Governor and legislature decided to expand gambling to compete with the impending Massachusetts casinos, would he want a casino for Hartford.    Segarra told me he is personally opposed to it, but says that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen.   A casino in Hartford would create thousands of jobs, instantly bring more retail to the city, and maybe get back some of the performers who now pass on Hartford in favor of Foxwoods and Mohegan.  Remember when Billy Joel used to play here? 

The Mayor  also was asked about the XL Center project, reported some encouraging news about Coltsville, talked about what needs to be done at Adriaen’s Landing, and how to get the young new residents to vote.

UPDATE:  Here is the interview with Mayor Segarra that aired December 11, 2011  on Face the State, only on Channel 3.

also read:

Is Malloy Powerless to Fight Massachusetts Casino Threat?
December 2, 2011

It appears there is little Governor Malloy can do to fight the financial threat facing Connecticut from the legalization of casino gambling in Massachusetts.   Bay State casinos and slot parlors are expected to syphon off an estimated $1billion dollars a year from Connecticut.  Making up that money won’t be easy according to former U.S. Attorney Stan Twardy, who helped craft the gambling compact with Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes when he was chief of staff to Governor Lowell Weicker.

At first blush, it seems the easy solution to compete with Massachusetts is to expand casino gambling in Connecticut, perhaps allowing casinos in Bridgeport and Hartford, two cities that wanted them in the early 1990s.    The argument?  If Massachusetts will have four casinos, then Connecticut needs just as many.   During a taping of Face the State, Twardy said it isn’t that easy.   The deal with the state allows the tribes to have a monopoly on casino gambling, in exchange for handing over 25% of their slot revenue.     If the state were to allow new casinos, the large monthly checks made out to the State of Connecticut from Foxwoods and Mohegan would come to an end.   Twardy said it was unlikely new casinos could make up the difference.    His explanation of this complex deal is worth watching Sunday. 

Also joining in the casino discussion is Tony Sheridan, the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut.   He acknowledged the Massachusetts casinos will hurt the Connecticut economy, and lead to job losses, but feels people will travel to Foxwoods and Mohegan because he believes the entertainment experience will be better there, than north of the state line.    However, Massachusetts has made it quite clear the goal of legalizing casinos is to dissuade Bay Staters from spending their money in our state.   Their casinos may pale in comparison to ours when they first open, but in time they will grow and improve, just like Foxwoods and Mohegan have done.    Sheridan said it will be up to the two original New England casinos to step up and add more attractions.

UPDATE: Here is the interview that aired on Face the State on December 4th



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