‘Least Windsor’ A Bad Bet For Connecticut, Roll With MGM Proposal

MGM Bridgeport numbers
MGM direct-mail piece.

City resident Tom Kelly, a long-time student of the gaming industry, argues in a commentary that what MGM International proposes economically for the state’s largest city dwarfs the state’s planned commercial casino operated by a joint venture of Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribal nations in East Windsor on non-tribal land. Kelly terms this project Least Windsor.

There has been an awful lot of Ballyhoo over the last several months regarding the gaming landscape of Connecticut. The State of Connecticut passed legislation authorizing a joint casino venture between the two Tribal Nations to go off their reservations. This legal entity is known as MMCT. This entity was granted this right through a flawed legislative legal process with a location in East Windsor. It is flawed because it violates the Constitutional equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

These two Tribal Nations separately and unsuccessfully tried to bid for casinos in Massachusetts under an open and competitive bid process. Now they are trying to deal a trump card by exercising an exclusivity clause that was granted as a right under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Once they go off the reservation all bets should be off.

This Least Windsor location, 12 miles from the soon to be opened MGM Casino in Springfield, may be fine land for growing Connecticut Shade Tobacco,  but for a gaming location any attempts to augment shrinking gaming revenues will go up in smoke.

Even the MMCT gaming guru and hired gun, less Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow articulated in his 2014 Northeast Gaming Study the severe leakage that will take place in Connecticut once the Massachusetts market is in full gaming bloom. Dr. Barrow has seemed to change his tune. I guess when discussing leakage with Dr. Barrow it depends?

MGM, a Fortune 300 company, has made a bid for close to a $700 million dollar facility in Bridgeport. They recognize that a Fairfield County, Metro New York, fertile, financial  market coupled with a built-in intermodal transportation infrastructure will create more jobs, state revenue and property taxes to the Bridgeport region. MGM also understands and will utilize and partner with the Webster Bank Arena and a soon to be opened Live Nation amphitheater to provide a well-rounded resort entertainment type experience.

At the very Least the State should have an open and a competitive bid process to get the most bang for our buck. Bridgeport could be a Shore Thing for Connecticut.

Let the Chips fall where they may.

It sure beats Least Windsor.

Share

12 comments

  1. Tom Kelly ,That was most eloquently stated. The fact that they do not need anything to pass through the city means it has its best chance of passing. They know how to lobby and market. Steeleponte needs this as they have done a poor job promoting this land. MGM on the sideline of Steelepointe can only help. I think one first rate , reputable Casino in Brigeport would make us a destination and bring life and lights seen by 150,000 plus cars a day, Bass Pro and all retail would benefit as well as upscale housing on Steelepoine.

  2. I agree with Steve and Tom, but I believe that Bridgeport must leverage its natural advantage much better in regard to what the casino developers bring to B-port… To “save Steel Pointe” is not enough… At this point in time, we are getting a very poor deal on the casino… They are throwing us bones… They need to be taxed at the full mill rate… RCI has missed deadlines and promises and continually even at they continually reconfigured Steel Pointe… They should actually convey the necessary land back to Bridgeport so that it can be sold directly to the casino developer and taxed at a “casino” rate… This should happen without RCI giving us problems… They were given way too much by the city, missed their promised benchmarks numerous times, and would lose an eminent domain case if brought by the city… Let them convey the land to Bridgeport for a fair price (what they paid us for it) in the context of a “signed” casino deal, so that the casino can own the land and not be sheltered by a ridiculously reduced tax-rate deal per being part of RCI’s development… And the casino process should probably be competitive so that Bridgeport get’s good, long-term economic leverage from any deal when all is said and done… (This process should be much more public. The people of Bridgeport need to have real input in the whole process here by way of public meetings and commentary on the contractual commitments of any casino developer to Bridgeport jobs and any casino-infrastructure development…)

  3. If the good people of Bridgeport want Casino jobs, they better get on a bus to East Windsor. You can thank Sen. Gomes and Sen. Moore for that move. What was the Pros and Cons on that vote?
    The only way to insure a Casino in Bridgeport is by the Courts after MMCT opens in East Windsor, then you have a case.
    Maybe Foxwoods and Mohegan are tired of paying the vig?

  4. From: OIBoard

    MEMO

    On previous posts, we at OIB referred to both State Senators (Gomes and Moore) as the Senators of East Windsor. Effective immediately, the OIBoard has agreed to accept ‘Senator/s of Least Windsor’ as a valid reference to State Senator Gomes or Moore and it should be understood to mean the same as Senator/s of East Windsor.

  5. With the failure of FIVE major casinos in New Jersey why is this so much interest in ONE casino in Bridgeport? There has to be a plan for Bridgeport that will create jobs, taxes and actually work.

    1. You are 100% correct. If you read Jeff K’s post, no one thinks a casino in Bridgeport would be the golden ticket. But if done right, it would revitalize the waterfront and could be a catalyst to make other things happen.

    2. Despite the “failure of FIVE major casinos in New Jersey”, Indian Casino number three is being built in Connecticut. The notion that Casinos in Connecticut won’t survive because it failed in New Jersey has been proven to be wrong a long time ago. The Indians have been pulling the right strings in Hartford and Washington D.C.

  6. All fair points. We need to lower our mill rate to attract further economic development. Atlantic City opened in 1978 as the Vegas of the East Coast. Atlantic City couldn’t sustain because it never really had a strong statistical population coupled with increased competition. MGM’s Borgata is the gem of the city.

  7. Bridgeport had two bites at the gaming apple. Jai Alai and dog racing. The dog track fell out of favor faster than the Jai Alai. Too bad the city administrations did not look into casinos back then, it might have worked.

    Sham on all the previous administrations that did not have a plan in place to replace the factories as they left. That was a lot of lost tax revenue. The harbor dredging subject has been kicked down the road back when Mr. Maldonado was on the harbor commission. Look at all the property where Carpenter Steel was and the property where the banana boats used to come in.

    That area has been vacant and many others like it for far too long it seems those in power can’t organize the silverware drawer.

Leave a Reply