Will City, State, Tribes Negotiate Gaming Deal?

From Emilie Munson, CT Post:

The city of Bridgeport and Connecticut’s two Native American tribes are close to a deal that would deliver a casino resort worth at least $350 million, a development that could unseat MGM Resorts International’s larger plan for Bridgeport harbor.

Mayor Joe Ganim, legislators and the tribes held several meetings Thursday to negotiate a deal. Those conversations are ongoing, but a preliminary proposal drafted by the city, and conversations with people involved in the talks, point to a midsize casino and large hotel resort.

The plan would need approval from the state House and Senate and governor to move forward–which could happen early next week. No location is named in a draft of the legislation, but the parties are discussing several sites, sources said.

This latest foray marks a new milestone in Bridgeport’s decades-long effort to host a casino, a history that included a developer in the early 1990s by the name of Donald J. Trump. Although the tribes’ plan would be much smaller than the $675 million MGM proposal on the harbor, it appears more likely to win approval in the General Assembly–where the tribes’ supporters have fought MGM vociferously for years.

“We’re trying to find a happy medium that is good for the state, good for the tribal nations and good for the city of Bridgeport,” said Rep. Chris Rosario, D-Bridgeport, who has participated in the negotiations. “The idea of the city of Bridgeport settling for a slot box, or some parlor, that’s out.”

Full story here.



  1. This is why there should have been a plan B. for Steel Pointe. Put this casino business to rest and come up with use of the property that everyone can agree on and that will be a good fit for the city. Look how long it took to get the few businesses that are there now. That is an indicator how long that roll of red tape is, damn shame really. The lack of envisionaries, poor leadership and a poor turnout at the poles is the reason why the city is where it is.

    Any other city with rail, a major interstate running through it and water with an existing ferry service would have used those ingredients to build up the city. They city never seemed to have a plan to recoup the loss of taxes as the factories were closing other than raising the mill rate and that’s not right. It’s no wonder people who can leave have left. Some can’t leave because no one wants to buy their homes because the taxes are too high. Add a poor functioning school system, a police department that can’t stay out of the paper for the wrong reasons the reputation that the city is generally unsafe and corrupt.

    In order for anything meaning, any major development to come to the city, it is a moral imperative to fix the malfeasance that has plagued the city.

    It’s the status quo that is keeping the city down.

    1. I agree with you, but I wan to chime in as a point of clarification. Steelpointe development has nothing to do with the proposed MGM Casino plan. IT’s 2 different plots of land and steelpointe plans are moving onward regardless of casino talk. The proposed casino from MGM is land that sits on the east side. Steelpointe is the peninsula at the Harbor. Close, Yes, it is. But not related.

      Also None of this land has any thing to do with this story and MMCT. I’d be curios what land has been discussed with the tribes because we don’t have much of it. Maybe the flopped 50 main street development site or the old coal PSEG site after remediation. I doubt MGM gives up it’s positioning which is the best site right now.

      Only other option would be Winners/shoreline star with old AIG rubber site, but that’s not as sexy

  2. I don’t understand why Bridgeport is only aiming for the casino. In all reality, CT has one tourist town destination, for the entire family, Mystic. And they are packed all summer long and get visitors all year round. Why aren’t we considering doing something simple but, inviting to all, like Mysitc? Casino’s cater to one type of people, why not open up idea’s that cater to all? Mystic does not have a ton of activities to offer vacationers, they certainly do not have access to anything we do not or cannot make happen. With all the work that was done to take away from the East Side, it would be nice to see them get something healthy they can enjoy and afford to be a part of. I hope thought’s like this are on the table and not just reaching for the casino stars.

  3. There was an article in the Post almost three years ago where a zoning change was sought at the dog track, the change was not approved. They wanted to change the designation from a retail zone to a downtown waterfront village district. The idea was to get developers interested in the property.

    There was an interest in the AGI property for a financial services tower, that idea was abandoned because figuring out the extent of the environmental contamination would take longer than anticipated.

    Well if that is the case it is back to square one with the dog track property and the surrounding area to see what if anything is planned for the future.

    1. You are mistaken. Shoreline property was changed to DVDWF. It’s footprint is almost twenty acres. Couple it with AGI property and you have a helluva riverfront project.

  4. Ganim and the rest of these stupid corrupt politicians, should realize that MGM is going to slap an injunction on this whole cabol that leaves the state with a big deficit

  5. This is good for headlines for Joe during this election cycle, but anyone who has lived in Bpt long enough, knows there will never be a casino built here., housing yes, casinos??, not ever.Once again, Joe’s smoke &mirrors..

  6. Not to be a “nattering nabob of negativity” I have major reservations about all this. First of all,any agreement between City of Bridgeport/ Ganim is not worth the paper that it’s printed on. The ONLY agreement that matters is between the State of Connecticut and another party(Indians\MGM). I cynical about this announcement. Has work started on the planned/announced renovation/plus of the Majestic Theater/Exact Capital or the two-ice rink\Primrose plan or the Congress St/Primrose plan. Anything and everything about a BPT casino is years away. So,being the cynic that I am,I think that this had more to to with this year’s election than anything else. Besides,with the saturation of gaming in the Northeast, any casino in Bridgeport is now a bad business decision. The Boston Casino is opening within days which will further cut into the Indian’s business and cut into what cut The State of Connecticut gets from the Indian’s. Furthermore,how will the Indians finance both and East Windsor and Bridgeport casino. Like I said,IMHO,this is all about this year’s mayoral election and nothing more than that.

  7. I agree with you Ms. Filo

    An aquarium could be an idea it could feature fish and other aquadic life that are indigenous to Long island Sound. There could be hands on exhibits and other activities where patrons could participate in. There could be a section that shows the meritime history of Bridgeport and artifacts of the era.

    People can see how the sound has changed and what the environmental impact is with pollution and plastics. On a good note a whale, seals and recently a great white shark has visited the sound. It shows the sound is much cleaner than it once was.

  8. Stringfellow,

    Vacation destinations like Mystic are an easy draw. A few things for kids to do (beach, boat rides, a little history lesson), a little shopping for the ladies (not to expensive) and few affordable bars for the men, a local history museum, a variety of restaurants to meet the needs of everyone, maybe a fishing charter etc… take Block Island for example, there is really nothing to do there but go to the beach, eat, drink, listen to live music, shop and fish. They get over 20,000 visitors a day in the summer months and the locals can enjoy it too. We can have all that too.

  9. It makes sense. MGM wants to protect Springfield’s MGM from an East Windor casino pouching gamblers. The state keeps the pact with the tribes. The tribes builds a cheater Casino in The Port, They. the Tribe, stops East Windor casino. In the end MGM protects Springfield MGM from and East Windor casino, the tribe protect Mohegan and Foxwoods casinos and the NY martket with a cheater casino in the Port. The Port’s future is goes slower, but advances. I guess the real question is what’s the Ports future out look? Pleasure Beach is the key to any large scale Resort Casino that will transform the city into a truly destination. Nice job “Ice Man” Jay Piccarill. Hope you stay on top the city’s future investments, see Pleasure Beach come into fruition and not let the Port be sold out from it potential. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kus8CBjk_bc

  10. The type of development that is imagined at Steel Point has always been casino-dependent. If the casino isn’t there within 18 months — with a direct, enclosed connection to the Boat House building — we’ll see the whole development revert to a housing-themed, “rescue” development, which itself will be new-train-station dependent. The latter concept is not cost-effective for any entity that might be involved and will do nothing for Bridgeport — it is a Ned Lamont/Gold Coast-hatched idea (workforce housing for riff-raff that can be imported to the Stamford Area in the AM and sent back to B-port and the B-port- Area in the PM…). It should be kept in mind that this Gold-Coast train station (WHICH WILL DO NOTHING FOR BRDIEGPORT) won’t happen without TOLL$.

    The latter gubernatorial obsession is, no doubt, the reason for all of the delusional casino glee… Ned is in Hartford to keep the status quo… A Bridgeport casino gives power back to Bridgeport, which is the anti-thesis of the Gold Coast primacy/CT status-quo plan of the Connecticut oligarchy and their GA lackey-force… All of the talk of a Bridgeport casino is occurring by way of placating the Bridgeport delegation/electorate at TOLL-VOTE time… After the TOLL-VOTE goes through, the Bridgeport Casino will fall through — because of “details to be worked out,” such as how to handle the new MGM litigation in the pipeline and, of course, finding a source of money to fund such a venture by the tribes (the latte of which are just playing along with Ned as he buys TOLL-VOTE time with the Bridgeport Casino carrot-and-stick, with the tribes getting a sports-betting monopoly for playing the game…).

    Now, we can be pretty confident that the GA isn’t going to give Bridgeport an “emergency casino” in the waning hours of the session just because the Boat House/shuck-house opened (just in time for Mayoral Election Season!) across from the Bridgeport Coal-/Smoke-Stack Power Plant. (What a view! — Literally breath-taking for those wit respiratory disease…).

    Bridgeport is getting played again — from inside and out… It has already been decided in Greenwich — NO CASINO FOR YOU! (Nor anything else that restores viability and self-determination to B-Port…) Ned is playing Joe (and us!), and Joe is playing us and his campaign contributors… Just more (appropriate) “shuckin’ and jivin'” in B-port at its new oyster bar (which opened just in time to rope-in some “shuckers”…).

    1. Jeff. The sports betting option you mentioned is more important to MGM than a casino. It’s much more lucrative, and MGM has lawsuits against the state for either without competitive bidding

  11. Hello Mary Filo. Haven’t heard from you in sometime.
    I will first say that you are right. There are plenty more ideas for development that have yet to be explored.
    However, you seem to be forgetting that there is an aquarium in South Norwalk with many of the shops and all already there.
    Secondly, the difficulty with this is that many of these developments are land dependent. Between that and the fact that even if open the season of an attraction like this is short.
    Keep on thinking 🤔 and maybe you will hit one out of the park though.

  12. Bob, at this point, 30 years later, there should be several ideas on the table. I also think it would be great to utilize our deep harbor. I do realize that Norwalk has the aquarium but, Norwalk does not have Bridgeports amazing history. Personally, i think that land would have served everyone better if used for something that utilizes what is already naturally there. Mystic doesnt even have a beach, we have an island with shuttles, we have a ferry, we have docks, we have space for shopping and food, we have fishing… like i said, it would be nice to know other plans were on the table. The casino talk has gotten exhausting, almost 30 years.


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