What appeared dead is still alive. The state legislature’s Public Safety Committee by a 22-3 vote Friday afternoon approved a bill that calls for an open, competitive process with Bridgeport in play as the host city for a waterfront gaming facility. What changed? The original bill called for scrapping last year’s approval by the legislature for a casino in East Windsor operated by the state’s two tribal nations that run Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. The current bill strips out that language so the East Windsor facility stands and a competitive process will take place for a fourth state casino. MGM Resorts has proposed a $675 million resort and casino destination at Steelpointe Harbor.
This is not a done deal. The bill must now pass the full State House and Senate. See vote tally here.
State Rep. Chris Rosario, a major casino supporter for Bridgeport says, “Never say die and I will never surrender. Bridgeport will gets its day in the sun. We will not be denied.”
From Mayor Joe Ganim:
“I am extremely proud of the courage and leadership of the entire Bridgeport legislative delegation, who appeared together in unity and strength to stand up for real economic development in the Bridgeport-New Haven region. Senators Gomes and Moore, Representatives Baker, Rosario, Stafstrom, Santiago, Stallworth and Hennessy have each shown tremendous resolve and a visionary approach to successful growth and prosperity for all in Connecticut. They are as valuable a delegation as a community can have. I also want to compliment all the other legislators in Hartford–including West Hartford’s Representative Joe Verrengia–who persevered, moved forward and made this important jobs bill successful in committee. This is a casino bill for Bridgeport which also keeps jobs in other parts of the state. It’s an important jobs bill, and Connecticut needs jobs. This is a clear signal to the business community that we are open for investment from companies outside of Connecticut who are looking to plant seeds and grow here, and help us develop our new economy. Now let’s push forward for an open, transparent process to bring thousands more jobs to Connecticut!”
Uri Clinton, Senior Vice President and Legal Counsel for MGM Resorts International issued this statement:
“We continue to believe strongly that the proposal we have developed for a world-class resort casino in Bridgeport, and the thousands of jobs and millions in revenue it would bring to the city, the region and the state is in Connecticut’s best interest.
Our plan has earned the support of Mayors, small business owners, chambers of commerce, labor unions, council members, community leaders, people seeking good-paying jobs and their elected officials. Those voices absolutely deserve to be heard by allowing a full discussion and public vote on a competitive process plan. It is the best way for the state to compare proposals on a level playing field, side-by-side, to get the best deal for Connecticut.
MGM will continue to advocate actively for a fair and full opportunity to compete for Connecticut’s commercial gaming license.”