Bridgeport State Senators Marilyn Moore and Ed Gomes assert if there’s going to be a third casino operation in Connecticut it should be managed by the state’s two tribal nations that have selected a site in East Windsor to counter the $1 billion Springfield, Mass. gaming facility owned by MGM Resorts.
“I am in favor of the plan by Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes partners to build a casino in East Windsor,” said Moore in a statement. “This will protect gaming revenue paid to our state and keep casino jobs here in Connecticut when the Springfield casino opens next year. This plan will continue to benefit the state and our city in many ways. Revenues from the current casinos brought $6.2 million to Bridgeport in 2016 and are estimated to generate funds for our city for years to come.”
“The plan to open a third casino in East Windsor could save some of the nearly 6,000 jobs predicted to be lost in our state with the opening of a Springfield casino,” added Gomes. “This is about protecting good-paying jobs in Connecticut. While I have supported building a casino in Bridgeport in the past, I don’t think MGM’s offer is our best option right now.”
MGM officials assert, protecting its turf, that a third casino in southwestern Connecticut with its proximity to the New York market would be a larger economic driver than the one proposed for East Windsor on non-tribal land. Legislative leaders, weighing competing casino interests, say it’s possible nothing will be passed in the session that ends in June.
If something is passed, it could end up in court. State Attorney General Jepsen has cautioned that a third casino on non-tribal land could break a revenue compact with the state even if it’s operated by the tribal nations. Under the compact executed by then Governor Lowell Weicker the state receives 25 percent of the slot take in exchange for granting an Indian gaming monopoly.
Supporters of a casino for Bridgeport argue the state would generate a mightier economic jolt through an open, competitive process for a third casino. For instance, the following bill proposal was referred to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee:
Not later than January 1, 2018, the Commissioners of Consumer Protection and Economic and Community Development shall jointly develop and issue a request for proposals to select an individual, a business organization or an Indian tribe to develop, manage, operate and maintain a possible casino gaming facility in the state. The request for proposals shall require a responder to:
Full bill here.