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Tribes Claim MGM Is Playing The State

December 5th, 2017 · 10 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Development and Zoning, News and Events

Hours before MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren who has deep roots in Bridgeport was scheduled to address a packed constituency of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, the state’s two tribal nations unleashed a video challenging the company’s veracity to building a $675 million waterfront casino in the city. MGM and the tribal nations that operate Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are in a positioning battle over the state’s first commercial casino.

The video includes Murren’s voice notifying shareholders that Springfield, Mass will be the last major development project in the United States. “Connecticut isn’t getting an MGM casino, Connecticut’s getting played,” declares the video voice-over.

MGM officials assert the language was taken out of context. Murren’s reference was for approved properties, not for proposed properties.

MGM is building a nearly billion dollar casino in Springfield. In response the tribal nations joined forces to protect their Connecticut turf prevailing upon Governor Dan Malloy and the state legislature to authorize a third casino on non-tribal land in East Windsor. Here’s the rub. Connecticut has a monopoly agreement with the tribal nations that calls for the state to receive 25 percent of the slot take. The agreement goes back to deal cut by then-Governor Lowell Weicker.

MGM officials declare that a casino operated by the tribal nations on non-tribal property compromises the legality of the gaming compact.

In September MGM and Murren countered with proposed $675 million waterfront resort for the East End creating thousands of construction and permanent jobs, a guarantee $8 million annually to the city as the host community in addition to millions more from real estate and personal property and building permits. MGM is partnering with the RCI Group, developers of Steelpointe Harbor, to build a casino on the old Carpenter Technology site on Seaview Avenue.

MGM officials Murren and Uri Clinton argue what the Bridgeport resort will generate will outweigh the money the state receives from the gaming compact. The tribal nations assert otherwise.

All this is playing out publicly with both sides making their case and is expected to be a hotly contested issue in the next session of the state legislature that is the key player in deciding the future of gaming.

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Robert Teixeira

    Getting played by whom? When did a cheap 350 million dollar casino compare to a 1 Billion dollar casino 20 minutes away. Casino’s product is more about an experience to just dropping your money in a machine with a hope of winning. You would have thought when you open up a casino you would want to draw out-of-towners in CT not just try to keep them form leaving. Are we North Korea? Again Thanks Moore and Gomes for your support for Jobs for your constituents. East Windsor must be proud of you. SMH

    PS when am I getting my weed legal, Stop making me out to be a criminal

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe4PEnyVr9E

  • Jeff Kohut

    Bridgeport is a potential gambling gold-mine and everybody knows it… One of the last places in the US with an ideal location/situation for a big-money casino(s)… The tribes know that. They played the state from the beginning, got greedy/lazy, lost their vision and advantage, and now they have “monpolists’ remorse.” Well; too bad! They made a great business deal with the state and let a tremendous potential slip away… They screwed themselves and the state, now they have to live with it and just roll the dice with the other players… (And Bridgeport doesn’t need its delegation and two state Senators betting against their city… If Marilyn Moore has any ideas about a mayor’s run, she had better get a little smart about putting Bridgeport first! So far, she’s been playing a real dumb-ass game as Senator in that regard, as has Ed Gomes, whom I really like, but am very disappointed in at this point because of his misplaced Senatorial advocacy…)

  • Donald Day

    Jeff, if memory serves me well they voted for upstate prior to Bridgeport being a casino gleam in the eye of MGM.

    • Robert Teixeira

      Day, your memory served you wrong. :)

      Bridgeport was always in play for MGM even if you believe this ad (above caption. A vote for an upstate casino is a vote against Bridgeport. Good Job Moore and Gomes.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Donald: In brief, the way it played this session is that Reps. Rosario and Santiago advocated for a Bridgeport-Mgm casino even as the proposal for an East Windsor, Tribal casino was just taking form… They received no support from the rest of the delegation in this regard… And, as the Bridgeport casino idea began to take-hold in Bridgeport, pro-East Windsor casino and anti-Bridgeport casino began to form in the GA… Silence from the majority of the BPT delegation…

    Then, as the East Windsor casino eventually to take definite form and a bill to allow for that casino was drafted, Senator Gomes announced that he was going to vote for the “home boys.” I questioned whether that meant he was going to vote for a Bridgeport-MGM casino on behalf of desperately-needed development needed by his Bridgeport constituents. I received my answer when he voted affirmatively for the East Windsor, Tribal casino… Senator Moore was vague about the casino issue during this period, saying 0nly that she didn’t think that further casino development in Connecticut was a good idea…

    During the interim, per-vote period, a strident, Gold-Coast-/suburban-based anti-Bridgeport casino GA group developed (with Trumbull and Monroe being particularly vociferous in this regard… They reached a crescendo of anti-Bridgeport-casino sentiment just before the vote… Senator Moore wound up voting for the East Windsor casino… Just a coincidence?

    Now; one could say that the Bridgeport casino proposal by MGM is just a ploy to derail competition for its Springfield project. But if one looks at both venues (Bridgeport vs. Springfield), it is quite easy to see that Bridgeport is, by far, a more lucrative market… We are not a ploy or an after-thought. We are an opportunity that was opened-up by the re-visiting of Connecticut casino-gaming expansion per the lame East Windsor answer to the MGM-Springfield development…

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    This is going to end up in the courts.

    On topic, the state of New Jersey is trying to overturn a law that prohibits sports betting, a multi-BILLION-dollar-a-year illegal industry. Makes sense: why should the mafia have all the fun? Connecticut is not the only state with a budget deficit. Barring the legalization of marijuana sports betting is the way to go.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    “Tribes claim MGM is playing the state.” ya think?!

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