September 18, 2017

MGM Resorts ready to fund $675M Bridgeport casino

MGM Bridgeport
MGM Bridgeport
A rendering of a casino in Bridgeport proposed by MGM Resorts International.
MGM Bridgeport
A second rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino.

[This story has been updated.]

MGM Resorts International, which is developing a $950 million casino in Springfield, Mass., says it will bring 7,000 jobs and $50 million in license fees to Connecticut with a privately financed $675 million resort casino in Bridgeport.

MGM Resorts International and The RCI Group, a real estate company and the developer of Bridgeport's Steelpointe Harbor neighborhood, say the proposed casino would also provide $8 million in annual revenue to the city of Bridgeport and $4.5 million annually to surrounding communities.

The proposal comes just months after the state legislature approved a third Connecticut casino to be jointly operated by Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino in East Windsor. That gaming facility was meant to act as a buffer to MGM's new Springfield casino, which is slated to open in the fall of 2018 and siphon tens of millions of dollars in gambling revenues away from Connecticut.

MGM Chairman and CEO James Murren, a Bridgeport native, said MGM Bridgeport can be "a major economic force, a top-tier entertainment resort, and an essential contributor to this community. This project can help to turn the economic tide of this state. We just need the political commitment to make it happen."

MGM Bridgeport would include 2,000 slot machines, 160 table games, a 700-seat theater, 300-room hotel, retail and dining options, he said.

The tribes, through MMCT Spokesman Andrew Doba, decried the proposed development as a "stunt" reflecting a "pattern of dishonesty" evident when MGM tried to get the legislature to broaden the scope of the approval process for a new casino. In June , Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed a bill authorizing the East Windsor casino.

For MGM and RCI to move forward with their plans, the legislature would have to reopen the approval process for a new casino.

"Simply put, authorization of this facility would violate the existing compacts between the two tribes and the state, which would immediately end the slot payments that currently sends the state hundreds of million a year in much need revenue," Doba said in a statement.

"Our state's elected officials saw through their dishonesty last session, and we expect them to see this latest fib for exactly what it is - another bought and paid for piece of misinformation," he said.

MMCT plans to build its new 200,000 square-foot casino in East Windsor to compete with MGM Springfield, providing 2,000 slot machines and up to 150 table games, but the casino would have no hotel or other features of a major resort.

In an emailed statement, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's Press Secretary Chris Collibee said Malloy would review any proposal from MGM Resorts but hasn't received one yet.

"It is important to note that gaming is not currently authorized in Bridgeport under current law," Collibee added.

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