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Tribes To State: Slot Us In For Bridgeport Casino Action, MGM: We Have Best Site

December 6th, 2017 · 9 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Development and Zoning, News and Events

It’s about time, right? Pushed by MGM’s Bridgeport positioning, Connecticut’s two tribal nations say they now want to be part of a casino discussion in the city. In a letter to state legislative leaders, Rodney Butler, chairman of  the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Kevin Brown, chairman of the Mohegan Tribe write “Over the past 30 years, many promises have been made to residents of the Park City. Few if any have come to fruition. We like so many others see the tremendous potential of Bridgeport and would love to be one of the catalysts that lead to a real revival.”

We write to you today regarding the discussion over a possible casino in Bridgeport.

For more than two decades, our two tribes and the state of Connecticut have forged a mutually beneficial partnership created from the first MOU in 1993 to the second in 1994. Those agreements steered more than $7 billion in direct payment to the state’s General Fund and created billions more in other economic activity. That direct funding has gone to a host of critical services in every town and city across our state.

Beyond the scope of our financial partnership, we also have a shared history built over centuries. It’s a bond that has inspired us to be more than just financial contributors to the state’s fiscal health. Over the years, we’ve led support events for our state’s veterans and contributed to organizations like the United Way, which helps families in need across our state. Simply put, we are part of the very fabric of many communities that make Connecticut such a great place to live, work and raise a family.

When confronted with a threat to this partnership, you stood strong with us and passed Senate Bill 957 into law during the regular legislative session, authorizing the construction of a new facility in East Windsor. We are moving forward with that project, and want to thank you for your continued support.

Back in 2015, our initial proposal would have authorized three new facilities, one in north-central CT, one in the Danbury area and one in Fairfield County. It was the Legislature’s decision to move forward with only one site in the north-central Hartford region.

If circumstances have changed and there is now real interest in putting a casino in Bridgeport, we want to be a part of that discussion.

Over the past 30 years, many promises have been made to residents of the Park City. Few if any have come to fruition. We like so many others see the tremendous potential of Bridgeport and would love to be one of the catalysts that lead to a real revival.

We thank you again for your continued support and look forward to discussing this issue in the weeks and months ahead.

So get set for a major legislative battle in 2018 over Connecticut’s gaming future, particularly in a state hemorrhaging red ink.

“All comers are welcome. We’ve got the best site,” said Uri Clinton, senior vice president of MGM. “If someone else wanted to … make a proposal they’d have to have some deal with someone else who has land.”

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