He was born in Bridgeport and his mom still resides in Connecticut’s largest city. Come January Jim Murren, chief executive officer of MGM Resorts International, will once again pitch the Connecticut General Assembly to approve an open, competitive process for the gaming titan to build a waterfront destination in Bridgeport incorporating components of the city’s history into the $675 million proposal just like MGM’s latest unveiling in Springfield, Massachusetts opening this week.
MGM’s Bridgeport proposal includes a guaranteed benefit that Springfield and surrounding communities are already receiving. MGM’s Bridgeport plan calls for a minimum $8 million annual host fee payment in addition to other revenues such as taxes and building permit fees it will generate on the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area that currently includes Bass Pro Shops as the anchor tenant. MGM officials see Bridgeport’s geography as a key destination for Fairfield and New Haven counties as well as New York.
The gaming proposal requires state legislative approval. Connecticut’s current gaming policy operates under a monopoly with the state’s two tribal nations that operate Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. The state receives 25 percent of the slot take in exchange for granting exclusivity. Critics of the gaming monopoly assert the state is leaving millions of dollars on the table. Some state legislators want to stick with the exclusivity compact with the tribal nations while others maintain the process must be opened up to determine the best deal for the state.
MGM announced its recent purchase of Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway in New York does not impact its commitment to building a waterfront destination in Bridgeport.
From Dan Haar, CT Post:
Springfield, in fact, picked MGM, or rather Massachusetts picked the company among five bidders for a western Massachusetts license in a process that MGM wants Connecticut to follow. Supporters of the MGM proposal for Bridgeport–smaller than Springfield at $675 million, and on a spit in the harbor, not downtown–will visit Springfield and wonder whether the company can do something like it for the Park City.
So far, after years of trying, MGM hasn’t won an open process in the state legislature, though a watered-down version made it through the House this past spring. The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes, operators of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort casinos, hold exclusive rights to run casinos in Connecticut, a claim MGM has challenged in court.
“You need only to look at Springfield to see the merit of a competitive bidding process and the folly of not availing a state of all its options,” Murren said.
“I’ll continue to fight for Bridgeport,” said Murren, who was born there, at St. Vincent’s, and whose mother lives there today. “If I could think of a city that is more deserving than Bridgeport, I would name it but I cannot. … It’s just heartbreaking really to see in my lifetime, and it started before I was born, its decline.”
Full story here.