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MGM courts controversy in Connecticut with $675m casino bid

Worl

mgmconnecticutcasino
dwide casino firm MGM Resorts stunned casino operators and officials in the US state of Connecticut yesterday by submitting a $675m bid to build a casino in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The proposed MGM Bridgeport resort would see the building of a 300 room hotel with a 100,000 square foot casino also encompassing an estimated 30,000 square foot of retail space. Its completed resort would feature 2,000 slot machines and 160 table games, generating over 7,000 new jobs and an estimated $316m for the state annually.

MGM’s unsolicited proposal has caused gasps of surprise in Connecticut, especially following an August federal appeals court ruling which dismissed MGM’s attempts to block the creation of this new “satellite casino” just inside its northern border, only miles from where MGM is building its new resort in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In a statement, Uri Clinton, senior vice president and legal counsel for MGM Resorts International, said: “The easy analysis here is Bridgeport has 7.3 percent unemployment,”

“Bridgeport doesn’t have any private investors knocking on its door asking to be here. The state of Connecticut doesn’t. The state of Connecticut is in a budget battle. So in a state that is having these issues, a development project like this should be easy.”

A spokesperson for Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said: “We will review the proposal when our office receives it,”

“However, it is important to note that gaming is not … authorized in Bridgeport under current law.”

If the MGM Resorts bid is successful, the resort will open in 2021. However in order for that to happen Governor Malloy will need to re-open the approval process for a new casino and renege on their existing deal with the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, who had previously been authorised to build the new Bridgeport casino.

The bitter legal dispute between the two tribes and MGM over the creation of a new tribal casino in East Windsor, just over the border from MGM’s Springfield resort was only resolved in June when a US Circuit court dismissed MGM’s claims that the granting of permission to the two Connecticut tribes to build a casino on non-tribal land put MGM at a competitive disadvantage.

In the wake of this dispute, there is still a lot of bad blood between the tribes and MGM, with tribal spokesperson Andrew Doha questioning the validity of the MGM bid.

Responding to the bid, Doha said: “The idea that MGM is having a ‘groundbreaking’ for a project that hasn't come close to receiving legislative approval continues a pattern of dishonesty that we saw time and again during the legislative session,”

“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. 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.”



Picture: MGM Resorts


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