In New Haven, Labor Backs MGM’s Bridgeport Casino Proposal

Chris Rosario, Toni Walker
New Haven State Rep. Toni Walker and Bridgeport State Rep. Chris Rosario rally supporters. Image courtesy New Haven Independent.

From Christopher Peak, New Haven Independent:

New Haven’s labor unions flexed their political muscle to back MGM Resorts’s proposed casino in Bridgeport, as a showdown begins over tribal nations’ competing plans.

At a rally Tuesday night at UNITE HERE’s hall at First & Summerfield Church on Elm Street, three mayors, four state legislators (two of them Republicans), a gubernatorial hopeful, nine alders and a crew of workers from other MGM properties spoke about the jobs that a resort casino could bring to the region.

Betting on a strong market in Southern Connecticut, with its access to trains from Manhattan and ferries from Long Island, MGM has proposed building a $675 million, waterfront casino in Bridgeport.

The company has also agreed to open a workforce development center in New Haven, where 2,000 employees would be trained. “This resort will need people who handle money and luggage; people who plan menus, prepare the food and serve it; people who buy advertising; and people who manage the payroll for all those jobs,” Mayor Toni Harp said. The partnership deals New Haven into the pack with Bridgeport as a political team to work alongside UNITE HERE in Hartford, where a legislative showdown against Native American tribes will take place.

Full story here.



  1. Go Chris Rosario!! Keep the momentum going. Anyone concerned about gambling addiction, Don’t! People addicted to gambling already have an outlet with the Connecticut State Lottery. We had Jai Alai and assorted Teletracks. Worried about Prostitution? Don’t. We already have enough Skanks walking around. You think uneducated and educated people don’t need any of these lower paying jobs? The Casinos upstate Connecticut are making money and apparently, busloads of people from Bridgeport make their way daily upstate. Years ago, I was not a casino supporter, based on first hand knwledge of Atlantic City and how the area was still depressed off the Casino Strip. Bridgeport is not looking to become Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Building an upscale Casino/Hotel will continue to make Bridgeport an Entertainment destination.
    I fully support Christopher Rosario and Ezekiel Santiago efforts to reignite interest in Bridgeport. We really have it all . Location and transportation. Train/airport/Ferry/ I-95- Route 8. Help alleviate the tax burden and help raise money for the underfunded Bridgeport School System. To the naysayers, Bridgeport just can not carry the burden of every social service. tax the homeowners to death, complain about parking meters and fight every option the city may get to generate revenue. We are a city in the wealthiest county in Connecticut. How much longer can those folks that pay outrageous taxes go on. We need the Casino. We need it now. It is tiring listening to the current conversations. I have been hearing these same conversations since Mayor Moran was in Office. Since Steve Wynn, the now former CEO showed interest in Bridgeport and Donald Trump bought the Jenkins Building in hopes of a legalizing Casinos.

    I do not think the City of Bridgeport has ever been this close to having a Casino and I find it hysterical that local Senators are not so sure they support it, although they supported Windsor.

    Get this on a referendum. The people of Bridgeport want this . They want jobs and entertainment. They want the spotlight on Bridgeport that has had a grey cloud hanging over it for years.

    1. Windsor is not down at the heels as Bridgeport is, Steven. A casino is not going to address the city’s socioeconomic ills. Nor will it change the culture of corruption at City Hall. On the contrary, a casino generates a lot of money. The casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas have corrupted local and state officials. We don’t need more corruption in Bridgeport, we need a regime change and investment in infrastructure. A casino would cheapen Bridgeport’s tattered reputation. Get real.

      1. I will respectfully disagree and we need jobs. I am tired of traveling upstate and 1 or 2 Casino’s would bring a great deal of money into the city and give jobs to people that are in desperate need of a life preserver. Dealers,Hosts,Cooks,maids,security,builders,Carpenters,maintenance men and woman. People spend their Welfare checks on lottery tickets. 2 Casino’s in Bridgeport could spur mote excitement. If 150,000 cars drive by the city everyday, just imagine the positive message they will see for years with construction on 95. That is my vision for the city. I think the taxpayers and schools will benefit. The big name performers will come to the city. The downtown restaurants will all succeed. The positive ramifications far outweigh the negative. Put on a referendum, you will find that the city supports this. This of course is my opinion. I think outside of this blog, most people agree with my vision and hopes for this city. The casino and Steelepoint will be a magnet for the city. The East end will come alive and become vibrant as it was at one time long before my family moved here. Lightening rarely strikes twice. 35 years ago we talked of Casino’s , maybe just maybe we will get support from lawmakers and put Bridgeport on the map as a desirable destination

    2. Stevie A. Is (Better Bridgeport BB ) and State Senator Moore on the payroll of MMCT of East Windsor?
      Are they the Anti Bridgeport Casino People, or is that just a rumor?
      It’s time to put Marilyn Moore’s feet to the fire.

  2. What’s better than a casino?
    How about a full employment program for the exclusive use of Bridgeport, Trumbull and Stratford (BRBC).
    That’s what you get when you combine a mobile phone, your kitchen table,, foreigners who speak English and our $20 trillion debt.
    My goal is to monetize America’s debt and turn it into an asset. The world is flooded with dollars but Bridgeport is broke. That can change.
    Here’s how it starts:

    1. Don’t get your hopes up. This is just smoke and mirrors. A game is being played by MGM Resorts, the Mashentuckett Pequots, the Mohegans and the state of Connecticut. If another casino is built it will not be in Bridgport.

  3. Derek, you are correct smoking mirrors, dog and pony show or just straight up BS. The Indian tribes are going to forego their exclusivity rights to a competing casino nor is the State going to break those exclusivity rights and risk losing millions of dollar’s. Bridgeport could use the jobs, but to get a job in Bridgeport at this casino you have to go to New Haven to apply and for training. Really? One could reasonably think that New Haven residents would have a better chance at these jobs leaving Bridgeport residents out in the cold.

    Chris knows that, Toni Walker knows that, Toni Harp knows that and anyone with a half of a brain should know that.

    1. New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and New Haven State Rep. Toni Walker have played this just right Don with what you said about a casino in Bridgeport because “you have to go to New Haven to apply and for training.” Harp and Walker are giving their resident the best advantage to get hired.

    2. Bridgeport is not going to be home to a waterfront casino. At least a few regular commentators are willfully blind to the city’s socioeconomic and environmental ills. (Stand up, Little Stevie Auerbach and Local Eyes. You both win the Golden Order of the Obtuse.) Joe Ganim must have known Bridgeport’s labor pool would be bypassed if the job training facility is located in New Haven. He sold out the people of the city of Bridgeport in pursuit of the delegates needed for a Democratic Party nomination for governor. Thanks, Joe. That’s great, just great. 

      When The state of New Jersey voted to approve casino gambling it was promoted as a lifesaver for Atlantic City. The seaside resort town was down at the heels after decades of neglect and public corruption. Poverty and crime was rampant. (The A.C. Economy was so poor By the early ’70s Nicademo Scarfo of the Philadelphia mafia had to supplement his bookmaking earnings by tending bar.) Then the referendum was passed. Then-governor Brendan Byrne claimed casinos would revitalize Atlantic City. He also made a very public statement demanding organized crime “keep your hands off Atlantic City!” Fat lot of good it did. The casinos maintained their patch of heaven but the rest of A.C. remained a canker sore oozing poverty and despair. Byrne’s warning to the mob fell on deaf ears: by 1977 Scarfo controlled the local concrete business and the bartenders and hotel employees union. He had the casino owners (including Donald Trump)  by the balls.

      If anyone thinks it can’t happen here you are naive or just plain stupid. It WILL happen here. The casino will be erected on the waterfront and the rest of the city will continue to decline because Little Joe Ganim put his political career above the needs of the people of the city of Bridgeport.  

  4. Mr. Brown, notice how I respond to you with respect. Regarding the jobs. Lets not forget the men and woman that belong to Unions in the city that would be ever so grateful to have a job making excellent wages for at least 2 years . I am Certain Moore and Gomes will take the laborers that make great salaries into consideration , not to mention the money they will spend in the area. I know other bloggers may not be happy with permanent jobs for maids and bartenders.

    Now if only we had more visionaries in this city. Mr. Walsh was forever saying Steelepointe would never start leave alone Bass Pro. Jobs aren’t big enough? Look down the road. For every project not supported, Bridgeport allows other towns to take the brass ring.

    Does anyone need to be reminded we are the largest city in the state. We are in the wealthiest county. We are a very poor city and need all of the jobs and development we can get. Now Mr. Brown, I appreciate that you do not agree with me. I appreciate that you do not have to worry about paying taxes. The schools and the homeowners need relief and a casino keeps the vision of turning Bridgeport into an entertainment destination on the front burner. Bridgeport is an amazing place outside of this blog. There are so many optimistic people that believe the best is yet to be. My enthusiasm nauseates you? I do apologize.

    1. Do you need to be reminded that most of the employees at Bass Pro and the nearby Starbucks live OUTSIDE the city of Bridgeport? If the casino locates the human resources office in New Haven that will effectively shut out many Bridgeport residents from applying. You’re dreaming if you think this casino is actually going to become reality. It is a bait-and-switch move by MGM to protect its corporate investment in Springfield, Massachusetts. Robert Krafts employed a similar tactic when he wanted the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to build a new stadium for the New England Patriots. He threatened to ove the team to Connecticut. Everyone believed it would happen.
      We hadn’t had a professional sports franchise since the Hartford Whalers moved away. Gee, a pro football club? Sure, where do we sign? Then Boston caved to Krafts’s demands and the state of Connecticut realised we’d been used. MGM Hotel & Resorts is doing the same thing here with the casino proposal and you’re falling for it.

      I appreciate our enthusiasm but can’t help thinking you are blind to the Big Picture.

  5. So Amazon is a nonstarter, MGM is a flimflam. It’s time for REAL investment in the city, not the pie in the sky we’ve been served. We need jobs here, jobs that pay a decent wage. The waterfront used to be and industrisl powerhouse. It can be again. Dredge the port. Stop talking about it, stop sliding it to the bottom of the “to do” pile. there are more than a few able bodied men and women in Bridgeport thy ould jump at the chance to work the docks for Longshoreman’s wages. That would build the economy, allow people o move up to the middle class, get off welfare, put their children through college and headed toward a better life.

    There are casinos in Ledyard and Uncasville, OTB. parlors everywhere, lottery games from a buck to however much of the rent you want to piss away. There is a casino in Yonkers, New York, another planned for the Catskills. Virtually every dive bar in CT. has sports betting. It ain’t legal; Congress needs to sort that out.

  6. OTB; lotto, state income tax and then slot machine revenue. Where’s all that money? Somehow, back then, the government ran without all that income. Where’s all that money now? Just a thought.

  7. I also am concerned about the idea of a casino in Bridgeport. Statistics show that between 35 and 50 percent of casino customers are problem gamblers, That someone would say that they have lottery and other casinos available so it’s okay to put a casino in Bridgeport is like saying that our school youths can readily buy drugs so let’s approve a drug stand next to the schoolyard. And the promise of jobs, does anyone trust the projections given by MGM. A boost to local businesses! That’s what they thought about Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods but it didn’t happen. To the contrary, the Casinos sucked the market from the neighboring businesses! Traffic! I-95 between Bridgeport and Stamford has been dubbed as the busiest section of I-95 in the U.S. I have a small Limousine Service business. I well see the existent problems on I-95. When I was doing my undergraduate studies in Southern California, I got a summer job at the Primadonna Club in Reno. I was the maitre’d of a Hawaiian entertainment lounge. I well remember standing at the host desk looking out on the gambling floor. There middle-aged ladies with their hair in rollers standing for extended periods at the slot machines and pulling the lever. I thought to myself, “Can this be healthy?” (Later, the Primadonna Club was bought out by MGM.). At a recent Casino Conversation, Chris Rosario said the most important thing to him is jobs. “Jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s what is most important to me!” Notice that he didn’t say anything about quality of jobs or quality of life. Also, he’s married to the unions, an anchor to his political support. Last year, before the total state budget was ever decided, he voted to extend the state contract with state employee unions, a deal which was described as involving much needed union concessions, but a deal which over the long term involved no concession. I’ve read that wherever there is a casino, there are corresponding spike increases in divorces and crime. Yes, we need more and better jobs. But the starting point to attracting investment and jobs is looking inward; cleaning up the government waste and inefficiencies, yes, cleaning up the government corruption in our great City such that we the People can effect reduced government spending and reduced taxes !!

    1. You’re getting ahead of the game, Ethan. The Bridgeport casino is a con job. MGM and the casino tribes are playing a game with Malloy and the legislature. MGM has a casino planned for the Springfield, Mass., area. The state of Connecticut and the Indians want to build a casino in East Windsor near Bradley International airport, a casino that would compete for business with MGM’s proposed casino.

      So the CEO, a Bridgeport native, made a big splashy announcement: “I want to wrevitalize my hometown!” Sent a well groomed attorney to con the residents of the East Side to contact their state legislators to demand a ‘yes’ vote on the casino. He used a flashy PowerPoint presentation and implied the streets would be paved with gold if a casino was built in Bridgeport, that MGM would give zillions of dollars to Bridgeport and the surrounding communities. It was all bullshit, a con job to pressure fence sitting legislators.


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