State Reps Rosario And Santiago Claim Expanded Casino Search “Unfair Sham”

As the Connecticut General Assembly prepares to convene this week, Bridgeport State House members Chris Rosario and Ezequiel Santiago assert that the process to review casino expansion in the state to address the new MGM casino in Springfield, Massachusetts is a “sham” shrouded in secrecy.

If Connecticut is serious about opening its first commercial casino, there is no denying why a competitive, fair, open and transparent process–precisely the opposite of what we’ve seen so far–is in the best interest of the state and our taxpayers.

Two key benefits resulting from a better process that have not received enough attention: the state’s ability to ensure jobs for Connecticut’s diverse and local populations, and making certain that communities that host a casino in their town receive tangible benefits.

In a transparent process run by the state, potential casino developers present comprehensive proposals that spell out the hiring process and how area towns will benefit. It is the polar opposite of the unreliable, unpredictable, and unfair sham of a process now underway.

In an open, competitive process, the state–and the public–would evaluate competing proposals from world-class developers that would include plans for hiring during all phases of construction and when the casino begins operations. Proposals outline precisely the dollars that would be paid not only to the state, but to the host community and adjacent municipalities as well.

Without requiring each competitor to propose a detailed plan for hiring, Connecticut misses a golden opportunity to assure that local residents, women, minorities, and veterans are hired. In a state where good jobs–and good paying jobs–remain extremely hard to come by, these commitments are vital to our economy.

We need only look just over the state line to Massachusetts to see how a competitive process can make a significant difference, not only for the state and local communities, but for people seeking employment today, and potentially satisfying and rewarding careers for years that follow.

Massachusetts legislators were committed to creating opportunities for local and diverse businesses when they passed the Expanded Gaming Act. Casino developers MGM, Wynn, and Penn National are required to submit strategic plans for utilizing minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned business to participate as contractors–from planning and construction to operation. More significantly, each casino developer has made agreements to promote local businesses, entertainment venues, and retail outlets within their host communities. Benefits from expanded gaming should be shared by the entire community.

Not far away in Springfield, MGM is exceeding the state’s requirements. Once open, half of the casino’s employees will be women, half will be minorities, and a third will be local residents.

Local communities also benefit tremendously in a competitive process, and the selected developer is held accountable for promises made. In Massachusetts, upon receipt of a gaming license, Casino developers not only paid a one-time licensing fee of $85 million to the state, but also made one-time mitigation payments to surrounding and host communities.

Why can’t Connecticut strike a deal that good, or better? Because the state isn’t even involved in the selection process. The Legislature turned over control to a private entity and critical components of the process–including hiring and community mitigation payments–are shrouded in mystery.

The solution is simple. Connecticut needs to reset–scrap the current privately-run and secretive effort to venture into the commercial casino business, and start from scratch with a state-led, transparent process–ensuring policy makers and the public can determine where the best location would be if there is to be a commercial casino in Connecticut.

As legislators representing a city with an unemployment rate of 6.0 percent last month, compared with a state rate of 3.7 percent (more than 4,000 people in Bridgeport unemployed, according to the State Labor Department), and a tax base in desperate need of sustained growth, we recognize that attracting new industries is essential. That is why considering the possibility of a commercial casino, allowing Bridgeport and neighboring communities an opportunity to evaluate competing development proposals, is the best way to decide if it is the right move for the city, the region and the state.

We need to establish a process in which competing potential casino operators are required to outline their plans in painstaking detail–so that we can determine, as a state, the best deal for all of us–taxpayers, communities and workers alike.

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35 comments

  1. I like where these two young men are going with respect to Connecticut and jobs. They say,”Not far away in Springfield, MGM is exceeding the state’s requirements. Once open, half of the casino’s employees will be women, half will be minorities, and a third will be local residents.”

    What they need to understand is Connecticut is 81.6% white and people of color have never been a priority with respect to hiring and with respect to Governor Malloy while Mayor of Stamford his hiring of blacks in the fire service was abysmal at best. During his tenure as Mayor Stamford hired only one black and no women for the SFD. All a snake can ever be is a snake, nothing more, nothing less.

  2. Ezequiel Santiago’s word means absolutely nothing. Chris Rosario does exactly what Mario Testa tells him to do with no questions asked. I have personally witnessed both these claims, therefore this is not hearsay.

    However, on this particular issue they appear to be on point. Government should be open and transparent, not shrouded in secrecy.

    1. Maria, what’s the difference with Chris Rosario doing exactly what Mario Testa tells him to do with no questions asked and you telling Robert Teixeira what to say and do?

      1. Jesus Christ, Ron. You know Maria asked me to not respond to any of your posts regarding her, like this one. You also know I DENIED her request. What are these posts all about? Do you have a crush on Maria? Mackey likes Maria, Mackey likes Maria. Ron, please leave me out of you crush affair. Thanks.

  3. I have great respect for both Rosario and Santiago, however discussing a casino in Bridgeport is an absolute waste of time. It humors those who had hoped for a casino decades ago. Look, the state has a contract of sorts with Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. The Indians in my opinion have the right to the Casino monopoly in the state. Now, New York and Massachusetts have casinos–remember Jai Alai–when the magic is gone and the demand ends, then what??? Forget Casino expansion and focus on real economic development, rebuilding the city not creating an island unto itself facility. Increasing prostitution and drugs and creating gambling problems among those who can least afford it. FOCUS, gentlemen. Casinos are passé in Bridgeport. Get with the program! My opinion of course.

  4. Is any discussion of casino employment important or relevant today? This is just political posturing; no more and no less. How about announcing something about FAIR, FULL AND EQUITABLE PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING?

  5. If it’s coming to BPT we should have voted on it. I would change my vote from yes to a NO. BTW if they can’t get percentage of hiring right, what else will they screw up?

  6. How does a casino on Pleasure Beach harm Bridgeport? It will generate revenue for the city and state to lower taxes. There’s a work force available. They come in by train and ferried to the casino. 95 to Seaview Ave. by ferry from Long Island. Traffic is minimal to the city. Sounds great to me.

    1. Robert Teixeira, have you looked at revenue and business climate for casinos in this area? The “glow” of casinos has faded. It is no longer the answer.

      1. Not in my eyes. Manufacturing is gone and it’s not coming back. Norwalk and Stamford have the office retail. A casino on Pleasure Beach has nothing to do with the city actual. Box stores are not going to do it. I don’t see a lose with a casino. It’s not the area it’s the country at large and all sectors in the economy have faded. The market for a casino by way of ferry and a train leading right up to it, connecting the New York and Long Island market has potential. I think you are wrong in your assessment.

  7. Lennie posted this media release without mentioning it was sent by a House of Representatives media representative. Rosario and Santiago approved and signed the statement. There is no suggestion they actually crafted the statement and we do not know (yet) who or what organization is pulling the strings.

  8. Frank Gyure. A casino isn’t solely beneficial for Bridgeport, Stratford, but the state also. You talked about funding for schools. The state has to generate those funds. Moreover when they get out of school they are going to need jobs. I still wish the gas power plant would be built by the other power plant in the city. That would open up the whole other side for major development. That’s leadership. Nobody loses by its move except those who want the city to fail and those who sold it out, from becoming a tourist destination. I well agree with Jeff, there are forces wanting to keep Bridgeport down. That plant being built on that location is how they are doing it. The city has been sold out on that one by the complicity and silence of the residents, and it is a shame too. The pieces are set on the Chess Board. How will it be played out? TWT.

    1. Robert, once again you’re wrong.

      By David Frum, CNN Contributor

      The impact of casinos on local property values is “unambiguously” negative, according to the National Association of Realtors. Casinos do not revive local economies. They act as parasites upon them. Communities located within 10 miles of a casino exhibit double the rate of problem gambling. Unsurprisingly, such communities also suffer higher rates of home foreclosure and other forms of economic distress and domestic violence.

  9. Best of luck city, your fate is in the hands of those you chose to lead and fight for what is best for you, returning you to a destination or a box stores community. I always try to depart on favorable terms. Ron, Day, stay black. Maria, stay combative. Steve, stay a suck-up. JML, stay informative. Jeff, stay Gold Coast. Doug, stay privileged. Lennie, upgrade you comment box. And Andy, stay “positive.” 🙂 Best of luck city. Bam I’m out.

    1. Robert, best of luck to you. I think it is nice they let you out for the holiday. Don’t be such a stranger. Maria needs you. I’ve met serious ass-kissers in my life but you take the cake. That’s a lot of ass to kiss. Keep up the good work! BAM BAM BAM, WTF is that??? See you soon on the greatest blog out there where Looney Tunes make sense to some! BTW, there is a difference between being a sycophant and respectful. I like to think of myself as respectful as I am not the recipient of any benefits from acknowledging a good job. Your kissing ass by intruding on other’s conversations is just sad. So continue kissing that ass! You have scored high marks from Maria as you know she is a damsel in distress and you have saved her. Good day sir, I’ve said good day! From your favorite film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!!! Stay well, Robert! Wherever the road may lead.

      1. It’s nice to see you back on OIB, Steve. “Birds of a feather flock together.” If you met serious ass-kissers, you must be among them. First Steve, I never called you a “sycophant,” Maria did. Second, if your assumption of me as being a serious ass-kisser is correct, and there have been times where you were known to be wrong, why am I her savior? When has being the savior of a damsel in distress constituted being called an ass-kisser? Are these words interchangeable? Or I am either Maria’s savior or kissing her ass? If the latter, when did one ass-kissing constitute being a serious ass-kisser? I always said OIB bloggers had a problem with simple math. “Damned Common Core.” Steve, you need to pull your nose out of one among the flock that it is up and realize I am not intruding into someone’s conversation when they replied to a conversation I initiated, “SAD.” Moreover, this is a public forum and I registered to join the discussion as you and many others did. With respect to the public decorum I kept my opinions “RESPECTFUL” minus the occasional ass-kissing OR saving. PS. BAM is my way I like to end my post. Kind of like a period at the end of a sentence. BAM (period).

        1. Robert Bam Bam Bam–if you took your medication you would not have responded to my post, you can’t help yourself. When I did my field placement in mental health, which was at Fairfield Hills in Newtown and Park City Hospital (that was many moons ago), obsessive-compulsive behavior was a specialty of mine. That sir is controllable when properly addressed. It does not address ass-kissing. I guess that is just a personality trait that is not treatable. BTW I just pulled up all your posts from the past two years and they have always been less than stellar and most times confusing. You have to respond Richard, huh? It’s something you can’t help. It is obsessive-compulsive disorder. Bam Bam, oh come on Richard, you have to respond. Shows you cannot help yourself.

  10. Missing the Boat
    by Naomi Shihab-Nye

    It is not so much that the boat passed
    and you failed to notice it.
    It is more like the boat stopping
    directly outside your bedroom window,
    the captain blowing the signal-horn,
    the band playing a rousing march.
    The boat shouted, waving bright flags,
    its silver hull blinding in the sunlight.
    But you had this idea you were going by train.
    You kept checking the time-table,
    digging for tracks.
    And the boat got tired of you,
    so tired it pulled up the anchor
    and raised the ramp.
    The boat bobbed into the distance,
    shrinking like a toy–
    at which point you probably
    you had always loved the sea.

    1. Ron, who watches CNN? Isn’t that the same news station that gave Hillary the debate questions in advance? You know what decrease property value? Unemployment, underemployment and crime, things Bridgeport is not lacking. Please explain why a casino achieves the things you mentioned? If a casino employed people in Bridgeport and surrounding communities with better-paying jobs, why would domestic violence or foreclosure go up in these communities? What casino caused the last housing meltdown that cause over three million foreclosures? If these things happen it is not the casino but the politicians who run these communities.
      I read a council person was arrested for domestic violence and tried to use his position to get out of it. What casino do you want to blame for that?
      Casinos provide decent-paying jobs. Do they not? Do you not want decent-paying jobs for your community? Yes I will give you that addiction to gaming causes problems like all addictions do. What happened to personal responsibility? So what you are saying is, you want to save a minority of irresponsible people from themselves by depriving the majority of responsible people of decent-paying jobs that would get them out of poverty. Ron the savior?

      1. Economic Impact of Casinos on Home Prices Literature Survey and Issue Analysis NAR Research

        In the case of Springfield Massachusetts a significantly level of sustained patronage at a destination casino appears unlikely given the saturation of gaming venues in the New England and New York region (e.g., Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Twin River Casinos, Newport Grand Jai Alai, casino cruise ships, race tracks, possible additional casinos in New Hampshire and Connecticut, and a variety of other gambling opportunities).

        • Indian casinos in very rural areas are frequently cited as generating significant local economic benefits, largely due to the depressed nature of the local economy.

        This has not generally been the case for urban casinos.

        • Distances between casinos appear to be important. Casinos that are close to each other tend to split the available business, reducing profitability. There are a significant number of casinos relatively close to Springfield.

        • Casinos generate jobs, but many of the jobs created by the introduction of a casino are reported to be minimal wage/low paying opportunities, with a few experienced gaming professionals filling the management positions.

        • Major social costs are frequently mentioned as associated with casinos–e.g., increased bankruptcies, crime, traffic, and congestion among others. These costs are frequently excluded from cost/benefit evaluations due to measurement problems. The inclusion of the social costs along with possibly other negative externalities reduces the net level of economic benefits from a casino or may even turn them negative.

  11. The survey is based on “saturation.” A Bridgeport Pleasure Beach casino will not saturate the region. It is finite. Yeah, saturation is harmful, like addiction too much. I don’t want to get addicted to casinos. I want responsible casino development. If anything this tells me Bridgeport makes a better location for CT and its casino expansion.

  12. Robert, there are environmental issues with Pleasure Beach and there are legal issues about who really owns and who can make decisions about Pleasure Beach because the City got federal funds to build that pavilion and there are certain guidelines about selling that property. Plus the City has to deal with Stratford because the only way to drive to Pleasure Beach is from Stratford.

    1. LOL. Weren’t there environmental issue where the new high school is being built? We could always give the land back to the Indians. Wasn’t all this land theirs? WOW. Hey there’s a potential for a meteor hitting Earth, let’s not do anything. SMH. Between you and Steve, this is too much.

  13. Steve, thank you for your post at 2:54pm on Jan. 4, 2017, it’s right on point. Robert was so far off the hook last year, he was banned from posting because he was that far out of the mainstream.

    1. When was I banned? Ask Steve who is Richard. My simple mind doesn’t compute. I guess we are done by the post. You ended it with one of Steve’s rants that makes no sense. WELL PLAYED. SMH.

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