So are you grooving on the latest chatter about potential expanded gaming in the state’s most populous city? Or do you think that ship has sailed? With Connecticut’s two tribal nation casinos being squeezed by competition from border states, does it make sense to open up a Fairfield County market? State Senator Andres Ayala argues no need to build a new facility, just fit up venues that already exist such as the Winners Shoreline Star. This is expected to be a topic in the new state legislative session starting in January.
Former State House speaker James Amann, a Bridgeport native who lobbies for Bridgeport’s Shoreline Star, the pony simulcast location that’s already fitted for slots, says it makes sense in remarks to the CT Post.
The way Amann envisions it, his former colleagues in the Legislature could broker a deal with the Indian tribes that would in some way see them partner with Shoreline Star, along with similar facilities in New Haven and Hartford, and lure visitors there with the Foxwoods and Mohegan brands.
Shoreline Star in particular, Amann said, would help plug the revenue losses the casinos are experiencing from residents on either side of the Fairfield County/New York border who have chosen shorter drives to work the slots at Resorts World Casino in New York City. And then Shoreline Star, the state and casinos would all share in the revenues.
State Senator Andres Ayala tells the CT Post:
“The revenue coming from the casinos is going to decrease,” Ayala said. “As a state legislator, I can do nothing (or) we can proactively look to see how we might be able to keep some of those dollars here. I don’t think we’re looking for more casinos, but for creative ways (like) creating the opportunity for those slots to be here in Bridgeport.”
But Mayor Bill Finch, feeling pretty good about the city’s development future, argues “I think that ship sailed 20 years ago. We aren’t pursuing it right now.”