Malloy Should Broker A Deal Between MGM And Tribes For Jobs And State Revenue

MGM Bridgeport rendering
Rendering of MGM Bridgeport.

When plagued by one of the worst approval ratings in the country, budgets drowning in red ink, major companies fleeing the state and a flaccid jobs-creating legacy as governor, there is a way to go out the door on a higher note–bring stalemated parties together in the cause of creating thousands of jobs and stimulating the economy. That’s the challenge of Governor Dan Malloy when it comes to the standoff between MGM Resorts and the tribal nations that operate Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Otherwise the standoff will crap out into less jobs and more red ink for the state, and no one wins.

Connecticut operates under a monopoly in which the state receives 25 percent of the slot take in exchange for granting the tribes gaming exclusivity. That revenue to the state, however, is dwindling. MGM will soon open a nearly $1 billion casino resort in Springfield Massachusetts. To counter that development the legislature approved a casino for the tribes in East Windsor to protect its market flank in that end of Connecticut. That development, however, is years away. Meanwhile, MGM has proposed a $675 million waterfront destination in Bridgeport because they believe the state’s largest city is the most valuable location for such a development leveraging its access to the wealthy Fairfield County and New York markets.

The tribes want to maintain their monopoly while MGM pursues an open, competitive process. Both sides have their share of support in the state legislature that would have to approve any gaming deal. At this point it’s like the irresistible force versus the immovable object.

Tribe comments like these, following an overture by MGM, don’t further the cause for a deal:

“That’s like a bully who steals your lunch money, then opens a food truck next to the cafeteria,” said Andrew Doba, spokesman for MMCT (tribes).

But Malloy, with the backing of Bridgeport’s legislative delegation, could step in and say okay boys and girls, enough with the fighting, the charges and counter charges. Let’s figure out a way that makes this work for the state, the tribes, MGM in the cause of thousands of jobs and more revenue for the state. In the end, it’s all about the bottom line for everyone. It can make financial sense for everyone.

Malloy is still the governor. He could use the force of his will to bring the parties together to hammer home a reasonable, if not perfect, marriage. Will he? Or will he continue to sit on the sidelines running out the clock of a lame-duck office? If that’s the case it’s craps for everyone.

CT Post reporter Dan Haar has more on this:

It’s been clear for months the only way Connecticut will see a new casino in the next few years is through negotiations–not just with lawmakers over a bill, but with MGM, the tribes and the governor to reach a lasting settlement.

That’s what Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim wants to see and that’s what I’ve said has to happen in order to break the stalemate between MGM Resorts International and the tribes, operating jointly as MMCT in the planned East Windsor casino.

Now MGM appears to agree.

Full story here.



  1. Mallow is close to a lame duck, but if he could bring the Tribes and MGM together to do a mega deal, it could be a win for all involved; so long as the considerations MGM was reportedly giving to Bridgeport remain.

  2. Despite rumors of significant jobs and tax base being lured to Connecticut (e.g., Infosys/Hartford, and CVS-Aetna/Hartford), the politics, infrastructure/transportation situation and state fiscal conditions don’t justify any net movement of business/jobs into the state anytime soon… Look for companies, such as Sikorsky and People’s Bank (et al.) to leave Fairfield County/Connecticut, with nothing significant coming in to pick up the lengthening/knotting economic slack…

    The only companies that see opportunity and a plus side in Connecticut at this time is the casino gambling industry… The GA had better run with this situation during this session or see the 95% of the state that isn’t the Stamford area spiral deeper into socioeconomic degeneration… Indeed if the GA doesn’t seize the initiative to bring such desperately needed (casino) cash machines into the state to stabilize our socioeconomic situation, then every GA member identified as a an obstructionist or sideliner in this regard must be voted out of office…

    The GA (forget bought-off/deck-rigging Dan Malloy) needs to embrace the MGM “partnership” deal offered to the tribes by MGM and either engineer a license/deal legislation for a Bridgeport casino (best location) this session, or just pass legislation granting MGM a Bridgeport license if the tribes balk at such a partnership…

    The GA has to “call the hand” and get all the cards on the table, and get a deal passed before the end of this session, or those sitting on their hands (no pun intended) or obstructing such a deal need to be removed from office… Rep. Looney and Sen. Fasano need to get talking in a hurry… Dan Malloy needs to get his pen ready to sign the special bill or get saddled with with even more blame for driving a stake through the economic heart of Connecticut…


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