The state of Connecticut and the federal government are paying big bucks to bring back New Haven-to-Springfield, Mass. commuter rail service. Amtrak does provide limited service now with about 1,000 passengers daily for the 100-minute trip and will be a bidder to operate the commuter line.
Officials hope that the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) transit corridor may reduce highway traffic and boost economic activity in Connecticut.
One likely outcome, however, is likely to be an exodus of Connecticut gamblers from Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
MGM Grand is expected to win approval from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to build a nearly billion-dollar casino destination in downtown Springfield at the terminus of the NHHS line. The casino developer has already offered to pour millions into Springfield’s Union Station, which has been mostly dormant for more than 50 years.
MGM had a branding partnership at Foxwoods in a $700 million hotel and casino opened in 2008 — just as the economy and gambling revenues began to crater.
Today, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun revenues have been on a steady decline — and with it Connecticut’s share of slot revenues (25 percent of the take).
As the trains roll, making it very easy for Connecticut gamblers to get to the new Bay State casino, we should expect that revenue decline to accelerate.