Public Hearing On Competing Gaming Bills, Casino Activists Dig In

Casino interest in Connecticut perked up, the state legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee will conduct public hearings Thursday morning on two gaming bills that address a third casino for the state operated by a joint venture between the state’s two tribal nations in East Windsor, see here, and another bill to open up the process, see here. The public hearings will take place  8:30am to 5pm in Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Language from the second bill:

To (1) regulate the operation of a casino gaming facility in Connecticut, (2) require the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to develop and issue a request for proposals for the development, management and operation of a casino gaming facility in Connecticut, and (3) permit the commissioner to issue one casino gaming license.

MGM Resorts, constructing a nearly $1 billion casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the state’s two tribal nations are vying for casino consumer action in northern Connecticut. MGM, protecting its turf, argues the economic benefits of a casino in southwestern Connecticut far outweigh the impact of a third casino in the northern part of the state. MGM has launched a paid media campaign, “Better Choice,” to hammer home its message.

The tribal nations argue if you do that you break the compact that provides the state 25 percent of the slot action. MGM counters that compact was for tribal land. The East Windsor location selected by the tribal nations is not. So this thing, depending how it shakes out with the legislature, could end up in court.

Bridgeport State House members Chris Rosario and Ezequiel Santiago have been vocal proponents of opening up the process to put Bridgeport in play for a casino. Opponents argue that ship has sailed.



  1. Lennie Grimaldi, how about a posting/story covering last night’s fiasco meeting of the Public Safety Subcommittee of the City Council? The main issue was SANCTUARY STATUS. Another picture of dysfunction.

    1. A lot of our councilpersons have completely forgotten their roots! Seventy years ago Bridgeport was dominated by German, Italian and Polish immigrants, and those of European ancestry would’ve been fighting alongside their undocumented brothers and sisters.

      New Haven and Hartford have protected their most vulnerable residents, yet the LARGEST city in Connecticut, with one of the largest, if not the largest, immigrant community can’t get on board.

      What is the Mayor waiting for??? A pardon from Donald J. Trump?

      1. Seventy years ago the immigration laws were very different. Illegals can’t vote. Republicans know if they go along with immigration reform and million gain citizenship with the right to vote, chances are they (especially Hispanics) won’t vote Republican. Why do you keep leaving the word ‘illegal’ out of the subject? Immigrant and illegal immigrant are two different subject matters.

        I was the first to predict Joe Ganim will most likely get a pardon from Trump or Pence weeks ago. Time will tell.

  2. All you people who are pushing for Bridgeport, get off your ass and show up tomorrow at the LOB in Hartford to push for your city. If you don’t, never complain about lack of jobs in the city!!!

    1. Okay, I admit. What is going on at the LOB in Hartford? I’m not even sure I can even drive up there. But charlie, please tell us what is happening!

    2. You must be kidding me, charlie. Ezequiel Santiago’s father was one of the State Reps. who created this mess and I haven’t heard that his dad is here from Puerto Rico to gather the masses and try to correct what is part of his making. His daddy has no problem coming from P.R. to vote and meddle in Connecticut politics.

      “Bridgeport State House members Chris Rosario and Ezequiel Santiago have been vocal proponents of opening up the process to put Bridgeport in play for a casino.”

      Notice there are four other State Reps. from Bridgeport missing above and two Bridgeport State Senators. What’s their position on this? What efforts have they made to get Bridgeporters or their constituents involved? You expect me to fight with the ‘Odd Couple’ Rosario and Santiago when it’s not known where the rest of the Bridgeport delegation has been on this matter? You’re better off enjoying this video and calling it a day:

  3. I remember the Hungarian Revolution when I was in grammar school at Whittier School on the West End and it was explained to us in school and how we should be nice to them and for us to try understand how they talked because it would different. We were also getting in a number of students who had come from Cuba. The problem that kept coming up was during gym and recess we wanted to play kickball but the Hungarian kids wanted to play soccer which we knew nothing about and there were fights because of this. All in all things worked out well, remember seeing and playing with black and Hispanic kids was totally new to them.

    1. Ron Mackey, I mostly grew up in the West End. Born on Pine Street but those buildings came down quickly after the construction of I-95 and then mostly grew up on Hancock Avenue. I went to Whittier School for Kindergarten.

  4. There seems to be a dearth of interest by the general public with respect to this round of the Connecticut gambling/casino initiative. This is not a good sign. It shows widespread apathy and resignation to Bridgeport’s economic dilemma. Nothing could be worse for this city. Without passionate promotion of, or opposition to, this prospect for Bridgeport development, we might as well give a license to the state/region to screw us, in all regards, even harder, with even more-callous disregard for our well-being than ever.

    If our City/GA “leadership” has any intention of working to reverse our economic regression, they should be weighing in, pro or con, on this issue… So far, the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and the GA delegation, with the notable exceptions of Reps. Rosario and Santiago, have failed to register even an opinion about the prospect of a Bridgeport casino.

    Apathy concerning major development that could have a major impact on Bridgeport’s well-being does not bode well for our prospects.

    Could it be that the prospects for a Bridgeport casino are seen as so improbable, or as not of much potential consequence, such that investment of energy and political capital in the issue fails to entice interest among city leadership? Or could it be that the usual, down-county suspects have already assured that the process cannot advance significantly?

    In any event; the silence on the issue from the public and city leadership is deafening and speaks of an abandonment of hope and absence of a willingness to fight from the grassroots level on up. Some real interest/passion, pro or con, would be reassuring in that it would affirm there is still intelligent life in Bridgeport that can see beyond parking meters and floating waterfront swimming pools and ice skating rinks.

    And we can’t blame the news media for failing to carry this story, the issue has been well-aired on television, the Internet, and in print, with OIB and the CT Post having given the issue major attention…

    What is going on in Bridgeport? Is it truly sounding its death knell? Is it becoming a for-real dead zone?

    1. I’m with you, Jeff. I think Santiago and Rosario are simply showboating. They’re obviously going into a gunfight with butter knives. You would think they would have started organizing five months ago or longer for this. Heck, I haven’t heard much from the Golden Hill Tribe on this.

  5. Joel: I have to say that over the past 20 years I’ve watched you hone and fine-tune your political instincts, your political knowledge (all levels of government), and especially your political analytical and prognostic skills. You’ve been making some really astute observations and predictions about the gamut of local, state and federal elections/issues over the past several years. (And you’ve done it in a sarcastic, humorous way that is truly often entertaining.)

    And in this particular situation, I think you’ve put your finger on the not-so-obvious, “obvious” situation [sorry (!), it was the best way to make my point]: There has been no “call to arms” or effort to mobilize the people or political mechanism in Bridgeport to fight any sort of fight, for or against a casino. The new casino “initiative” would seem to be anything but. It would seem it was thrown out there as some sort of distraction from some other “hidden(?)” agenda. The big question is: what might the “hidden” agenda be, and why use the dubious casino “initiative” as the bait/distraction?

    Is “the region” getting ready to “gift” us with some sort of consolation prize, like a toxic/medical waste dump or another power plant (possibly nuclear?) that could be located next to the Seaside Park incinerator or sewage-sludge generator on the Seaside Park regional incinerator-ash dump/solar (dis-)array?

    Maybe we’ll find out something tomorrow after the presentation and distillation of the hearing testimony.

    1. Most of the people of Bridgeport are tired. We fight a day-to-day existence to make ends meet. Most of us fight a payroll-to-payroll battle. Emergency savings accounts? Forget it. Retirement savings? Forget it. Paying sky-high car insurance. Paying sky-high utility (gas, electric) rates. Rental rates have hit new highs. Hundreds and hundreds of houses are falling apart. The schools are awful. The only winners are people/vultures who can swoop in and demand fire-sale prices on houses.

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