Bridgeport residents overwhelmingly support a $675 million waterfront destination resort casino at the Steelpointe Harbor development area, as proposed by MGM Resorts International, according to a new public opinion survey. Nearly three-quarters (74%) favor building the resort casino while 18 percent oppose it. The survey was conducted by The Mellman Group on behalf of MGM. The survey included 500 registered voters in the city, a representative sample used in most public opinion polls. It was conducted September 20-24. A registration-based sample was utilized, which included cell phones and landlines, and used live interviews. The statistical margin of error is +/-4% at the 95% level of confidence, according to the survey. See questionnaire here.
MGM is trying to make the case that its economic impact on the state would be greater than the current monopoly relationship Connecticut has with two tribal nations that provide 25 percent of the slot take in exchange for exclusive gaming rights.
State finances are hemorrhaging badly with MGM positioning itself as an alternative to the state’s gaming compact with the tribal nations that operate Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Gaming payments to the state have dwindled in recent years coinciding with a lagging economy.
More info on the poll in this MGM news release:
The widespread support is driven by key factors that more than 7 in 10 residents view as very important, according to the survey: the creation of thousands of jobs in the region including jobs for Bridgeport residents, annual payments by MGM to Bridgeport ($8 million) and neighboring communities ($4.5 million), no tax dollars would be spent on construction or operations, and the state will receive payments from casino revenue.
“The overwhelming support is a clear signal to state policy makers that Connecticut needs to update its antiquated gaming policy to take advantage of the job-creating and economy-expanding opportunity that is MGM Bridgeport, said Uri Clinton, MGM Resorts International Senior Vice President and Legal Counsel. “Standing idly by as gaming revenue continues to drop precipitously harms towns and cities, and ultimately taxpayers.”
The more residents learn about the plans, the more that support grows. After hearing specific elements of the plan, support increased to 82% while opposition dropped to 15%, an enormous 67-point margin, 9 points higher than the initial overwhelming support. Even after arguments for and against the plan were highlighted, support was firm, with 76 percent expressing support, compared with 18 percent who did not–an even wider margin than the initial views shared at the outset of the survey.
Support for the proposed resort casino in Bridgeport is consistent across all demographic groups, and across all political constituencies. The plan is supported by men (79%-14%), women (70%-20%), African-Americans (74%-16%), Latinos (78%-15%) and Caucasians (73%-21%). Residents of all political affiliations also back the resort casino development: Republicans, by a margin of 81% to 17%; Democrats by 75% to 17%, and independents by 70% to 20%.
The fact that no tax dollars will be spent on the construction or operation of the casino, thanks to their initial latest no deposit casino bonuses UK proposal, is considered to be at least very important by 83 percent of those surveyed; and more than 8 in 10 also believe that the jobs created overall (86%) and for Bridgeport residents (85%) are at least very important factors.
Bridgeport residents clearly see that the casino will provide benefits for them. A robust 85 percent believe that the casino will create jobs. And about seven in 10 are of the view that it will help the local economy and bring more business to existing local restaurants and other businesses. A solid majority, 55 percent, also believe that it will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for state and local governments.
The MGM Bridgeport plan, announced on September 18 by MGM Resorts International and The RCI Group, developer of Steelpointe Harbor, would spur the creation of 7,000 jobs, bring the state a $50 million license fee in the current fiscal year, and grow the amount of revenue the state receives from casino gaming. The project plan also includes construction of a workforce training center in New Haven, and requires authorization by the state legislature for construction to get underway.