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Poll: Connecticut Voters Support Competitive Process For Third State Casino

May 16th, 2017 · 7 Comments · Development and Zoning, News and Events

poll results chart

A statewide poll commissioned by four casino gaming organizations shows significant support for a competitive bid process for Connecticut’s first commercial casino over expanding the monopoly to the state’s two tribal nations for a third casino in East Windsor.

A survey of state voters found that 7 in 10 residents prefer an open, competitive process and 8 in 10 want a local referendum. The poll was commissioned by Pinnacle Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, Boyd Gaming Corporation and Peninsula Pacific. MGM, which is building a nearly $1 billion casino complex in Springfield, Massachusetts has been pushing for a competitive process in Connecticut. A coalition of the tribal nations is lobbying the state legislature to approve a third state casino in East Windsor to protect its market base in Connecticut.

MGM resorts officials argue a third casino through a competitive process in southwestern Connecticut, in Bridgeport, for instance, would be a larger economic driver for the state. The tribal nations currently operate under a gaming monopoly in which the state receives 25 percent of the slot take from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Sun casinos.

“Likely voters in Connecticut are speaking with one voice, loudly and clearly, for an open, competitive process to select a developer for the state’s first commercial casino. That’s unequivocally the bill they want the legislature to pass,” said Uri Clinton, senior vice president and legal counsel for MGM Resorts International, in a statement that accompanied the poll. “They also want the developer to pay at least $85 million in state licensing fees, plus pay for local infrastructure improvements. Given Connecticut’s precarious finances, it makes sense to insist on the best deal possible, and that’s exactly what people expect to see.”

The statewide survey of 600 likely voters was conducted by the Mellman Group which contacted both cell phones and landlines from May 9-11 using a registration-based sample.

By 71 to 22 percent, likely voters prefer an open competitive process. Two in 10 believe the tribal nations should be given an exclusive right to operate the state’s first commercial casino. The East Windsor site is not tribal soil.

The poll, by 85 percent to 12 percent, also shows that a referendum of local voters should have a say in whether a new casino is built in the host community.

MGM Resorts and the tribal nations have spent heavily in respective media campaigns to sway public support as well as influence competing bills before the state legislature.

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7 Comments so far ↓

  • charlie

    I am so sick and tired of these corrupt politicians bending over backwards for these damn tribes, while the people suffer. Yes that’s you Moore and Gomes. It’s high time the people win for once!

  • Jeff Kohut

    Connecticut is obviously in long-term trouble — socioeconomically, politically, demographically (too many older people of retirement age and a shrinking, out-migrating population of educated/trained younger people…), and otherwise… We have the highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the nation — which has many, many implications…

    The most serious problems of the state are based — deliberately concentrated — in the cities… But since the cities provide the labor and services that allow the economic activity and basic supportive environments which keep the state (nominally) functional, their well-being should, logically be a priority… ‘Nuf said about that…

    Our backasswards, elitist/racist, regional/state development policy has created an unlivable state in which corporations and all but the wealthiest residents find reason to move to other states (or at least keep moving-contingency plans updated)…

    Since the state, and especially its cities, are starving for jobs and operating revenue, and since virtually all other industries that might provide jobs and tax revenue are either fleeing the state or erasing Connecticut from their list of possible operation locations, we need to embrace the one industry that feels that we have something to offer and which can provide some jobs, tax revenue, and pump-priming capital to recreate a robust, diversified economy in Bridgeport and other Connecticut cities…

    Now we know that the main reasons against an open bidding process for casinos in Connecticut has been, and is, mainly moralistic and social… If Connecticut were a socioeconomically healthy state, with full employment and prosperous cities, there would be strong grounds to avoid the presence and influences of casinos. But Connecticut is a dying state of sick cities with an impoverished, hopeless/frustrated/fearful, substance abusing population that is already involved in many, dangerous, illegal cottage industries… Neighborhood-based Speakeasies (hosting all manner of illegal activity resulting in violence/mass shootings), illegal and problematic legal gambling, illegal drug dealing, and prostitution, are already main-stay, survival-mode occupations for a large segment of the Bridgeport population…

    A large-scale, high-end, waterfront casino, with its jobs, and taxes, and economy-stimulating capital can only help this dying, violent, impoverished, illegal-drug bathed city… It shouldn’t be our first choice, but the present of this state, country, and especially our region, make it our only choice… We are out of time and have only one option with which to regain socioeconomic viability — it is a casino. Those of our politicians who would lead us to pretend otherwise and don’t support the current momentum for such and initiative, must be retired… They have been given too many passes for failure to deliver real economic development to our city… (No, Bass Pro doesn’t count — and Steal Point is a ruse… But Steal Point would make a terrific site for a casino — as it might have also made a terrific site for a new, $750 million Bridgewater HQ, ship-building site, etc… But, too late to use time chasing those things in this dying state/city…)

    In any event; we have painted the state economy into the Southwest wedge of the Fairfield County, and now, to prevent the rest of the state from imploding, we have encourage development/leverage that we wouldn’t have to consider in a democratically-functional, non-plutocratic state where most of the population have become virtual economic serfs to a handful of super-wealthy nobles in the Southwest wedge.

    Only one timely option left for the state — a Bridgeport casino to prime the pump…

    • Frank Gyure

      What does “prime the pump mean?” I just read that Donald Trump just coined that phrase and now we need to add it to our economics vocabulary.

  • Frank Gyure

    this is a worthless posting. waste of time.Why did OIB become a spokesperson for MGM INC?

    • Frank Gyure

      I am calling this posting as worthless(or,at least,it should be taken with a grain of salt)because the poll was conducted by MGM et all and therefore reflects MGM’s position on the current casino developments in CT.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Frank: Is there a focus or point to your “questions?” Do you have any ideas that could be implemented and result in some real (positive) economic momentum in Bridgeport/Connecticut? What is your theory on why Connecticut — and especially Bridgeport — are in such desperate shape? How would you fix that? What industry could we actually get to come to Bridgeport that would bring significant jobs, tax revenue, and game-changing capital?

    • Frank Gyure

      There is no theory why Bridgeport is in dire straits and Connectict is having fiscal problems is the 50 year plus industrial flight from Connecticut. These same forces affected and arc from the Northeast,Mid-Atlantic going into the Rust Belt.I think that any hope or strategy of returning industry to Bridgeport is unrealistic. The first step we need is city governance that inspires confidence and gives the impression that there is some type of long term strategy to grow the Tax Base/Grand List. One thing that Bridgeport needs is large scale re-investment into our housing stock-both old(remodeling) and new construction. This area need “affordable,private” housing. On the short term,where will these people work. Yes,they will have to get on I-95,Merritt,Metro-North and drive to jobs. I am aware of your opinion on that subject. I do not believe that a casino will turn out well. We assume that people from NY/NYC will be flocking to a casino in Bridgeport. We cannot ignore the declining business at the Ct. Indians casinos. We cannot ignore the declining casino business in Atlantic City. We cannot ignore the present and growing casino WEST of NY/NYC. There is also the growing online casino business model(Let’s remember Blockbusters,Borders,Tower Records,bookstores,record stores. We may build a casino in BPT but,IMHO,I seriously doubt people will come and I do not believe it will be a sustainable business. We will have a problem that we are seeing in bricks and mortal retailing and malls are closing,transitioning to other uses(housing) or simply being torn down. In time,a Bridgeport casino will be a huge hulking empty building just like our old Bridgeport factories.

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