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East Windsor casino has a name, 'Tribal Winds,' but no start date

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Stressing the “shovel ready” status of their long-stalled East Windsor casino project, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes on Monday announced a name and a logo for the roughly $300 million project, issuing a reminder about the revenue it's supposed to generate.

Once open, “Tribal Winds Casino,” as it’s been dubbed, will contribute an estimated $75 million a year in gaming revenue to the state, the tribes said in a statement. When financing for the project has been secured, the tribes will make a $30 million advance payment to the state.

As the casino's "host community," East Windsor is in line to receive about $8.5 million a year in Tribal Winds revenue, including $3 million to mitigate the casino's impact on local services and an estimated $5.5 million in local property taxes. The casino will annually distribute another $7.5 million a year in municipal aid — $750,000 to each of 10 municipalities, including four surrounding East Windsor and six others around the state designated as "distressed."

The surrounding towns are Ellington, Enfield, South Windsor and Windsor Locks. The 2017 law that authorized the casino also called for the tribes to provide grants to two distressed municipalities in north-central Connecticut — East Hartford and Hartford. During a special legislative session on the state’s 2017-18 budget, lawmakers added four more distressed municipalities to the list — Bridgeport, New Haven, Norwalk and Waterbury.

The tribes also called attention to the jobs the casino is supposed to provide.

“Tribal Winds is expected to support 5,000 jobs from the start of construction through the grand opening, with at least 2,000 jobs for the building trades during construction and 2,000 permanent jobs at the facility once it’s operational,” the tribes said. “The casino is also expected to support 1,000 indirect jobs at small business vendors.”

The tribes said Tribal Winds will open 18 to 24 months after construction begins. The site, off Exit 45 of Interstate 91, where a former Showcase Cinemas building once stood, has been cleared.

The project continues to be stymied by the federal government’s failure to approve an amended gaming agreement between the Mashantuckets and the state, a condition of the state law that authorized the project. State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, has introduced a bill that would eliminate the need for that approval.

The tribes also launched a new website, www.tribalwinds.com.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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