MGM Resorts Executive: Stick A Third Casino In Bridgeport – Tribes Select East Windsor

Uri Clinton
Uri Clinton. From his LinkedIn page.

Update here. As the battle wages for turf, money and legislative votes in the high stakes location for a third casino in Connecticut, David Collins of The Day shares that Uri Clinton, senior vice president at MGM Resorts International building a casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, rolls a compelling argument–trying to derail a competing northern Connecticut casino–that “the southwestern part of the state, because of its proximity to the New York City metropolitan area, is the richest market to mine and the most lucrative for the state to develop.”

From Collins’ story:

Hello, Bridgeport. Here’s an opening for someone to once again suggest this as an economic driver for your poor city, which could leverage its vast waterfront and connection to ferries, trains, highways and New Yorkers.

If nothing else, Clinton’s testimony proved the state needs a lot more information and needs to do some serious homework before moving forward with commercial gaming, a whole new enterprise.

I suggest hiring the folks who helped Massachusetts and Maryland craft their laws, if it goes that way. The state certainly can’t just act on some proposed bill coughed up by the tribes.

Full story here.



  1. Considering anything else (with respect to tax base/business/Bridgeport-based jobs) that might be “lucrative” or otherwise desirable for Bridgeport gets steered away from us by regional/state big-money interests in order to protect the down-county/suburban lifestyle/tax base prerogatives, leaving Bridgeport in a condition that can only be described as “desperate” and “screwed,” maybe it’s time to make an ally of the “other” devil, fight $fire$ with $fire$, and go for the MGM casino. Either way we’re screwed. At least with a casino there would be some $balm$ to soothe our distress, at least for a while.

    I never thought I’d say this, but it’s time for Bridgeport to just go for it. The Region/Hartford/DC are just going to let us continue to rot and die a slow death, in any event. At least with a casino, we will have some $ to throw around, come what may.

    Let’s play ball with MGM again and stick it to Hartford and Stamford/”the Region.” Let’s help MGM to “$mooth the way” for a Bridgeport casino. $tamford et al. will just have to deal with the traffic and need to accommodate local workforces in their towns. (Or maybe they’ll come to realize just how important it is to treat the state’s largest electorate with deference and respect and do the right thing by Bridgeport. But that’s very doubtful, and they are not to be trusted.)

    In any event, let’s go for the MGM casino! We’ll at least have some fun and get a chance to expose the down-county greedy, arrogant, aristocrat connivers for what they are.

    When do the buses filled with lobbying citizens start going to the Capitol? Regular session or special session? Let’s go!

  2. Like Andy said, it’s too late for a casino now, if it ever happened, think Atlantic City in the ’80s. A burned-out shell of a city, while people just come and go from the casino area. Then fast forward 15 years from now, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Portchester etc. will build casinos, and Bpt’s will be done.

  3. Let’s be honest. Where would it go??? Right off an exit. People would get off the highway, gamble, pick up a hooker, take a dump and go home. The city benefit, well when the economy tanks down the road I suppose the city can make new section 8 housing. The glitz and glamor have already been enjoyed by aggressive economic development teams. Don’t get me wrong, there was a time I was a proponent of casinos. Take a look at Atlantic city. Those days are gone. We do need the jobs, but remember Jai Alai when they first opened? Packed, people came from all over. Then they didn’t. Let’s focus on reality. Granted a Casino would be a home run for The Ganim Admin. But it isn’t going to happen. I would not be unhappy if it did, but it won’t!

    1. Steve, when Steve Wynn came to Bridgeport and spoke at the Jai Alai about a casino in Bridgeport, he expressed what you’re saying and that was a casino could draw in between 15 and 20 thousand people but it was up to Bridgeport to figure out how to get those people to spend money downtown.

  4. Really. This guy is simply playing the Bridgeport card.
    It will not happen but if it delays the prospect of happening long enough for him to finish the casino in Springfield, well, that’s all he is looking for.
    They will build a toll going into Bridgeport from all three directions and that will be it for construction.

    1. Sent from my iPhone

      Begin forwarded

      Published February 25, 2017 7:54PM | Updated February 25. 2017 8:00PM

      By David Collins Day staff writer DavidCollinsct

      Having Uri Clinton, general counsel and senior vice president of MGM Resorts International, show up to testify at a Connecticut General Assembly forum aimed at finding a strategy to cope with MGM’s new Springfield casino was a bit like inviting the fox into the hen house.

      And yet Clinton, a charming, smart, tall and lanky lawyer, sort of a corporate-looking Barack Obama, turned out to be the star of the show, clearly stealing the thunder of the Connecticut Indian tribes as they tried Thursday to sell their off-reservation third casino plan to the Public Safety and Security Committee.

      After all, Clinton said, MGM just paid $85 million for its Springfield license, will pay the state 25 percent of all gaming revenues, much more than the Connecticut tribes now pay for their two reservation casinos, and also will pay the host city another $25 million a year.

      Clinton more or less told the legislators they are being hosed by the tribal third casino proposal and are on the precipice of giving away a valuable asset, a commercial gaming license, for a song.

      Moreover, he made a convincing argument that giving the tribes a new commercial license for a casino in northern Connecticut not only would trigger a legal challenge by his company but could lead federal authorities to lower or even eliminate the amount of gambling revenue the state now gets from the tribal reservation casinos.

      The tribes now pay 25 percent of slot machine revenues in exchange for the exclusive right to conduct casino gambling in Connecticut, on their reservations.

      Honestly, by the time Clinton was done, I almost expected some of the legislators on the committee, clearly impressed with his testimony, to stand up and applaud.

      “The more you talk, the worse I feel,” Rep. Daniel Rovero of Killingly told Clinton, as the MGM counsel explained how the tribes are paying Connecticut much less than the new casinos in Massachusetts will pay that state and that the tribal fund money paid now might be at risk if Connecticut approves a third tribal casino off reservation.

      “You have made me realize how much the state of Connecticut leaves on the table,” Rovero said. “I don’t want to listen to you anymore.”

      Unlike Clinton, who attended the entire session, nursing a giant paper coffee cup and chatting with lawmakers and other attendees when his testimony was over, Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown sailed out of the hearing room at the end of his own testimony, not staying to listen to the MGM presentation.

      A lot of those who accompanied Brown, including construction workers wearing safety vests and hard hats, people wearing save Connecticut job pins, stormed out after the tribal chairman left. The theater part of the day was over.

      The senior vice president of a worldwide, publicly traded gaming juggernaut, however, stayed and quietly worked the room a bit.

      There’s a lot at stake on both sides.

      Clinton, who of course has his own clear agenda–stopping a northern Connecticut casino that would compete with the new $950 million MGM Springfield casino–suggested a lot of reasons why the state should approach the issue differently than it has so far.

      After all, Clinton said, Connecticut is one of only two jurisdictions in the country right now weighing whether to issue a new commercial casino license.

      The licenses are very valuable and the state should not let the tribes or any other contender dictate the terms, he said. Just look at how the legislation was crafted in Massachusetts and Maryland, so that hefty fees were paid for gaming companies to even compete, he said. The eventual gaming tax rate was established and contenders were made to make significant concessions to host communities, he said.

      Brown testified that the tribes will negotiate later in the process how much they might pay in gaming taxes for their off-reservation casino, the expansion of their monopoly. Couldn’t they even suggest some big number, at this late stage in their bid?

      In Connecticut, Clinton said, there is no question that the southwestern part of the state, because of its proximity to the New York City metropolitan area, is the richest market to mine and the most lucrative for the state to develop.

      He said casino companies would pay a lot to compete for a southwestern Connecticut casino license and a commercial casino there probably would pay Connecticut more in casino revenues than the state now receives from the tribes.

      He said he also has researched the terms of the tribe’s compact with the state and that the tribal payments would continue while a new casino operator is identified, until a license is issued.

      Hello, Bridgeport. Here’s an opening for someone to once again suggest this as an economic driver for your poor city, which could leverage its vast waterfront and connection to ferries, trains, highways and New Yorkers.

      If nothing else, Clinton’s testimony proved the state needs a lot more information and needs to do some serious homework before moving forward with commercial gaming, a whole new enterprise.

      I suggest hiring the folks who helped Massachusetts and Maryland craft their laws, if it goes that way. The state certainly can’t just act on some proposed bill coughed up by the tribes.

      I give the public safety committee great credit for convening the forum and moving along the conversation.

      I also give the Democratic committee chairmen demerits for refusing to hear from a coalition of casino gambling opponents organized by former Congressman Bob Steele of Essex.

      The coalition represents a wide swath of Connecticut churches, and they deserve to be heard along with all the “stakeholders” any time the General Assembly strikes up a new conversation about allowing more gambling.

      This is the opinion of David Collins.

  5. It doesn’t make any sense. This is what’s wrong when anybody brings up Atlantic City, “saturation.”

    They’re going to build a satellite casino to keep the Hartford market from driving to Springfield’s mega casino because it’s closer than Mohegan and Foxwoods. It is not going to draw in people from other regions. Not to mention it’s like a 30-plus minute drive to Springfield from the Hartford area. So they are going to cut the drive in half, to 15 minutes.

    Are people going to drive an extra 15 minutes to experience a $1 billion mega casino or save 15 minutes of their time to go to a satellite casino? Gaming is not crack. Think about it.

    Hartford is not that much farther from Bridgeport than it is from Springfield. Bridgeport’s casino market is a lot broader, the Long Island sound market by way of ferry, New York by car and train. Economically a satellite casino is a loser for the state and it saturates the Gaming market that ultimately hurts the casinos, cities, towns and the states as a whole.

    Steve, to answer your question where, first the gas plant should be relocated by the other electrical plant were O&G want to build their rock pile plant, no reason to have power plants diminishing multiple sections of the city for redevelopment. Once the gas plant in shuttered, that’s whole lot of prime waterfront real estate, Pleasure Beach, and Steel point, all access by train, ferry, and road, nobody who really wants the city to succeed in becoming an entertainment destination will lose. PSEG gets their gas power plant. The controversial O&G rock pile plant is no more. They move the Seaview Ave rock pile to their current plant, they lose a plan but gain selling and building in the reconstruction of the city. But you know, let’s focus on liquor store developments and strip mall stores. It not as if Bridgeport can’t become a tourist destination, anchored by gaming; it’s the will to do it.

      1. A casino would turn Bass Pro and the Steel Point peninsula into a real winner. It would accelerate the TIF payments back to the state of Connecticut used to finance Bass Pro. Atlantic City has a population of 35k.

        1. Atlantic City has a land mass smaller than Bridgeport and it hosted like a dozen casinos. Exactly why is the 35k population on hard times? Then still like eight casinos opened.

        1. That was nice of Foxwoods to pay MGM to use their name. Are they still using it? If not, maybe MGM should pay Foxwoods to not open a cheap satellite casino. Seems fair.

          1. It was nice of Foxwoods to let them on the reservation. Now Mohegan and Foxwoods want to go off the reservation.

  6. Robert,
    Here’s the point! We need jobs and tax relief. I was in Hartford for the legislative gaming information hearing. Some pretty smart people presenting with facts and figures. I think the above thread of a column by Mr. Collins speaks for itself. It’s a very complex process above my pay grade. Peace Out! Tom Kelly

    1. It’s way above my pay grade. I agree jobs, tax relief, and better quality of life for its citizens. If Connecticut is going to expand gaming the State has to maximize its value.

      In my opinion Bridgeport is divided political governance, and it’s more about the political game than the welfare of city and its residents. Yet you have to ask yourself. Is Bridgeport the baby in front of Kings Solomon? Both claiming the baby but in this case either is willing to give up the baby out of love to the other; rather they want the baby cut in half.

      I saw Maria, Denise and Fran, fighting over packets and watched that drama play out over her resignation, I have no idea what that was really about, but it wasn’t solely about the welfare of students or health of the school system.

      You have a power plant on one side of the city and it’s closing and they’re going to build another one. Do you have them build it in the same section of city next to the other power plant, which would free up that land where the old plant is for future development? No.

      You have O&G with two plants in different section of the city and nobody say anything, but once they want to move it, protests erupt, petitions, court battles, about the health issues, even though it’s being moved closer to other plant O&G runs.

      The move would free up development on the old site and reduces the health risk (if any) by placing it next to the O&Gs other plant and across the street by a garbage-burning power plant.

      Obama deports millions of illegals and this city says nothing. Joe may be able to leverage his past with Trump, but Trumps says he’s going to stop funding to so-called sanctuary cities. So what does the City Council do? Stage a rally to propose a resolution to make Bridgeport a sanctuary city.

      That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Most on this blog know it, because they are playing it. I’m sure Lisa can tell you more how this city was cut in half and neglected for the sole sake of the political game called Bridgeport governance.

      Bridgeport’s governance is without a heart that sees the city as a baby, but just as a self-serving game, but mostly Bridgeport’s governance is without leadership (king) that sees it as a baby and refuses to cut the baby in half because it knows neither is the baby’s mother nor cares for the child.

  7. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun should buy out or partner with MGM and its Fifty mile radius not to build anywhere within that Springfield radius. Then lock in Remington with a new Casino or Train-sino.

    1. This goes to the heart of my baby analogy. Jim, Remington, really in the middle of the East Side? I’m borderline retarded and I know that’s the worst place for a casino. This city had to place Jersey barriers to get a handle on that section of the city.

      Steel point would be better, Pleasure Beach is best, you have to know this. So why do you waste your time saying it? The sad part is retarded ideas like this actually get done in the city. I just don’t know where they are coming from. I hope they are not coming for OIB bloggers. Other than JML and Maria, no relevant information about city governance is posted.

      I don’t want to over praise Maria, not because she finds Jim funny (I don’t think giving bad advice is comical) but because I don’t know if she fails to see the baby.

      The baby is not the Public Schools System, it’s government education to ensure its citizens are educated, paid by taxes. How they use taxes to educate is not a public issue but a government issue. When you say Charter schools siphon BPS funds for charter schools that is only half of the baby. Because the Charter schools educate city students just like the BPS do.

      That is why I disagree with you on charter schools. I see education as the baby that needs to get educated, not solely by BPS, but Charter, parochial as well. I want what’s best for the baby. If Charter Schools can provide a high level of education or voucher to taxpayers to send their child to a parochial school to receive a better education that is currently lacking in the BPS, why would I care? Cut it from the baby or why would the government let a continuously failing system to go on?

      Maria, the State cut $5 million out of the city’s school budget. But how much of the $22 million for charter schools will Bridgeport get? I pose this question to you. If the state said they are cutting the BPS by $5 million but is going to give city charter school $10 million do you see as a plus or minus for the city and its students?

  8. Tom Gill should RFP all three Casinos, MGM, Foxwoods, and Mohegan Sun.
    Remington with a new train station in the Heart of this City would be the best place to locate a Casino. It has easy excess from I-95, the ferry boat and now a new train station.
    The Shot Tower Casino can be seen from I-95 and just like Bass Pro will draw thousands of people to it.

    It’s a fabulous location that doesn’t need a whole lot of approvals to clean up the property or to build a bridge to get there.
    New York State now has 21 Casinos and employs tens of thousands of people.
    When we started talking about a Casino for Bridgeport, New York had just seven.
    If Mr. Clinton is right and I think he is, we owe it to ourselves to create jobs for Bridgeport!

    1. Jim, you see Remington as a better location for a casino than Steel point or Pleasure Beach. Pleasure Beach is secluded and is easy to main security and safety, something Bridgeport needs to project to tourists. It’s probably five times the size of Remington, not to mention it’s waterfront property with a long beach to utilize. It has better access to all you have aforementioned about Remington. It also will enhance the development at Steel Point and the old power plant, while using land for parking to keep the whole Island as a resort casino destination.

      The State and the City needs to ask any gaming company, who is going to build and invest in the biggest and grandest casino complex. The City and State are not Trump were his name needs to be on the building.

      According to Lennie’s Only in Bridgeport the City has been talking about gaming since the early 1970s. So both Lennie’s book and my last history lesson are wrong, or you’re wrong and came late to the conversation about gaming in Bridgeport.

      One think is for sure your location is wrong and you are not retarded. So I ask the question. How you can even come up with such an idea? Even if you were retarded I would still ask you how you come to think Remington is the best location for Bridgeport to build a casino.

  9. See Jim, who are playing into their hands.
    First of all, MGM has not expressed a real interest. They simply stated the best place would be Bridgeport.
    You are offering an RFP to three casinos but the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods is a joint proposal so there are really two not three.
    Then if you were to do this it would result in MGM bidding against itself. Take their time. No problem. Then expand it to include everyone else. Let Steve Wynn in. Take even more time.
    What Mr. Clinton is not saying is they never would have paid this much money to Springfield and Massachusetts if they thought there would be a casino 15 miles away, so the easiest thing is get rid of that casino no matter what it takes (lies, half truths, making the Native Americans look bad) and get theirs built and to hell with what happens to Connecticut.
    And that is not an answer.

  10. Bobby, we no longer own Steel Point. The city sold the remaining two parcels needed to complete the Steel Pointe Harbor project to the developer. Bridgeport Landing Development now has full control over Steel Pointe.

    Pleasure Beach needs a bridge and the Federal Government will have a huge say on what you can build on Pleasure Beach, CAM, EPA and the flucking Piping Plovers etc. It will take 25 years just to get approvals from the Feds.

    Pleasure Beach has absolutely no parking, so tell me Bobby, how many flucking people can you get in a flucking Water taxi in the dead of winter???

    1. What’s your point? The only thing I see that is absolute is Bass Pro. Someone told me all I need to do is get everyone in the room and lock the door. How many people live in Hawaii? Do you have something against water taxi transportation? Do you know how many buses and trams transport patrons at other casino resorts? At least I accounted for cars. How much parking is set aside on the Remington lot for parking?

  11. Bob, what was Mirage Resorts and Steve Wynn’s motivation for a casino in Bridgeport?

    What was Foxwoods’ motivation for paying MGM to use their name?

    What is your motivation to think Bridgeport wouldn’t make a better location for a casino that would generate more jobs and revenue for the state?

    What is an extra 15-minute drive?

    What competition and impact is a cheap satellite gaming casino going to have on a mega casino 15 minutes away?

    What impact did Foxwoods’ gaming have when Mohegan built their mega casino 15 miles away?

    Did Mohegan put Foxwoods out of business?

    Do you really think Foxwoods and Mohegan think a cheap satellite casino is going to put MGM out of business or stop patrons from going to MGM?

    Do you think Foxwoods and Mohegan believe MGM is really going to have an impact on their casino that is over 70 miles way and in another State?

    Do you think Foxwoods and Mohegan partnering to build a cheap casino to combat competition from a casino 70 miles away when they are competing with each other and only 15 mile between Foxwoods and Mohegan?

    How much do you think Foxwoods and Mohegan plan to make and the State is going to gain with a cheap satellite casino for a mega casino resort?

    Do you see a difference in Foxwoods’ mega resort casino and Mohegan’s mega resort casino competing with each other 15 miles apart, and Springfield’s mega resort casino and a Foxwoods and Mohegan partnership in a cheap satellite casino competing with each other that are 15 miles apart?

    Who do you thing will win in competing for patrons, Springfield mega casino resort or a cheap satellite casino?

    These are question I think Clinton wants and the state needs to ask. Sure if you don’t have to compete with a cheap satellite casino why should they. Foxwoods and Mohegan have to ask themselves investing 300 million dollars in a satellite to compete with casino that cost over billion more is going to win those patrons?

    When did selling a smaller and cheaper experience win out over a more lavish and extravagant experience at the same price?

  12. Casinos are a dead end. Now we are looking at a situation where the casino operators are going to slice up ever smaller pieces in a continuously smaller pie. When we finally get to Internet gambling (and it really is coming), the casinos will fall like trees in a forest.

  13. The Internet has changed many industries and hit some hard, like malls and retailing. Some will fall like a tree in the forest faster than others. Music and video stores are no more. Newsprint, publication and books will take longer.

    Casinos have adapted to these changes like all industries have. That’s why they build massive resort casinos with shopping, restaurants, shows, entertainment etc.

    Are they starting off small with a cheap satellite casino to undercut the state on its cut of the revenue, then expand? That’s why the cheap satellite casino in a loser on face value, it can’t compete, not with a 15-minute drive.

    Even if they are trying to undercut the state in revenues by a weak proposal for a satellite casino, it would have very little impact on a Bridgeport resort casino destination. A Bridgeport casino really has little impact on Foxwoods and Mohegan or Springfield’s casinos. If anything the satellite cuts out Bridgeport from Springfield’s market.

    You have an hour and half drive OR (commute by any means) before it seem burdensome to people, minus special events. Foxwoods and Mohegan and Springfield loses the New York market, but all have the Boston market. Foxwoods and Mohegan have Rhode Island. (Minus the other casino in Mass.) Bridgeport would have the New York market (minus other NY casinos in that travel radius). The access by water (Long Island Sound) and train greatly enhances Bridgeport.

    Billion dollar casinos are not just about slots and table games. Can anyone tell me one single development that would bring thousands of decent paying jobs with benefits to city residents and generate needed revenue for the state and cities, if structure fairly?

    One or two resort casinos don’t make a city. Just like a few insurance companies don’t make Hartford.

  14. It’s the ferry that I see as the greatest aspect to a Bridgeport casino. If the casino runs ferries with amenities, like video games, Wi-Fi, buffets, etc., that is no longer a commute but a mini cruise. So now the commute starts at each ferry station, like satellite train stations up and down the Sound all leading to a Bridgeport casino.

  15. Jeff’s not far off-base on Bridgeport’s most valuable asset, the waterway. He sees Bridgeport using it to import and export goods, I see it for people. What Jeff fails to see is it will only import, and Bridgeport will continue to serve the Gold Coast its goods. Manufacturing will not materialize based on Bridgeport’s export shipping access. I think there’s a shipping and rail port in New Haven. So if manufacturing in Bridgeport were going to come back it wouldn’t be because of export access.

  16. The State has to get its house in order. It needs revenue and needs to generate growth for the state and create jobs for its people. Even the Federal Government needs to get involved in making sure the States make proper investments so they can stop funding cities that can’t support themselves by either bad or stupid investments that don’t create jobs and revenue for them or by wasteful management.

    The State needs to keep its pact with the tribes, one way or another. Since the devil’s in the details and beyond my pay grade and my simple mind tells me to maximize the current situations.

    The State should tell Foxwoods and Mohegan they can keep their pact with the existing casinos but can’t build a satellite casino up state. Rather they can build resort casinos in Bridgeport with an agreement similar to MGM in Springfield.

    MGM and the tribes win by not have the market saturated. Whatever revenue will been lost to Foxwoods and Mohegan by MGM, would be made up multiple times by a Bridgeport resort casino. Not to mention MGM at one point was partners with Foxwoods.

    The State needs to get more involved on how the cities are being developed because their failures affect the State and towns as a whole.

    Serious people need to intervene on the location of the new gas plant. That’s a golden opportunity where no one loses, SPEG gets their new plant, and the city gets prime real estate for developers to develop that creates jobs and revenue for the city and state.

    That plant is only going to generate 20 permanent jobs. What difference does it make to them or the city if it could be built by the other power plant? Other than the loss of that prime real estate for developers to develop along the waterfront, UB and Seaside Park. That section of city could be developed into something amazing.

    Can anyone tell me if PSEG is going to build a new plant why it should be built by the city’s other RESCO garbage power plant?

    Like what investors or developers are going to invest in a lot right next to an existing garbage-burning power plant (RESCO)? Other than a rock-crushing plant.

    How this City’s Council, leaders, business community, activists, or Julio down by the schoolyard are not up in arms about this, shows how corrosive and lack of respect for this city and how they really don’t care what becomes of this city. Yet you protest for sanctuary label to pit the mayor against Washington and fight to place liquor stores every 700 ft. apart.

    Washington and Hartford needs to see the baby (Bridgeport) as a whole and stop letting it be cut up into pieces.


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