SPRINGFIELD, Mass. & HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Momentum for a third Connecticut casino has apparently stalled at the State Capitol. It comes as MGM reaches a big milestone in the construction of their billion dollar casino complex in Springfield.
Officials from MGM and political leaders joined the local Iron Workers Union in celebrating the topping in place of the final beam for the billion dollar, three city block MGM Hotel/Casino Entertainment complex just over the border in Massachusetts. Connecticut casino operators say the new casino in Springfield will cost thousands of Connecticut jobs and millions in state revenue when it opens in just 18 months.
MGM’s big boss told News 8 that they will welcome displaced casino workers from Southeast Connecticut when they start their job fairs in late summer of next year.
“We’re very interested in attracting vendors, potential candidates from across the state line so we’re very open to that absolutely,” said MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis.
As far as the so-called ‘MGM bill’ currently before the Connecticut General Assembly, Mathis says MGM is very interested in building in Southern Connecticut, west of New Haven.
“Our company will make a significant commitment if the process is right and the application is something that the state’s interested in,” Mathis said.
Enrique Zuniga of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission told News 8 there is nothing in MGM’s deal with the Bay State preventing it.
“They would be allowed if they wanted to develop anything in Connecticut there’s nothing precluding them, nothing in statute, nothing in the rules,” Zuniga said.
The Speaker of the Connecticut House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) says momentum for that proposal or the bill that would permit the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes to open a third Connecticut casino at a former movie theater complex in East Windsor has stopped ever since Attorney General George Jepsen‘s opinion that either casino plan would place the approximately $260 million in annual payments the state gets from the existing casinos in legal jeopardy.
“I don’t know any member of the House that’s willing to ‘roll the dice’ with that type of funding given the economy that we have,” said Aresimowicz.
The Speaker also says that if MGM wants to cut a deal that would cover the lost revenue from the tribes it would have to be negotiated by the Governor. The Governor indicated earlier this month he does not support another casino and that it is not in the cards.