MGM announces development of new casino in Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH)– MGM has announced the development of a new casino in Bridgeport on Monday.

The principals of MGM Resorts International and The RCI Group announced the plans for the development of MGM Bridgeport during a news conference. MGM says it will be a world-class resort casino at Steelpointe Harbor.

The casino and entertainment facility is expected to create thousands of new jobs in the state, as well as bring increased revenue to Bridgeport and surrounding communities. The casino will be funded with private investment dollars.

mgm bridgeport MGM announces development of new casino in Bridgeport

Plans for the casino include 160 table games, a 700-seat theater, 300-room hotel, retail and dining options.

Jim Murren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, MGM Resorts International, and Robert W. Christoph, Sr., Chairman, The RCI Group, along with elected officials, made the official announcement at 11 am. at Steelpointe Harbor.

MGM says the development would include:

  • More than 7,000 new jobs in the Bridgeport area
  • $50 million in license fees paid to the State of Connecticut in fiscal year 2018
  • $8 million in annual payments to Bridgeport
  • $4.5 million in annual payments to surrounding communities
  • More than $600 million in new private investment; 100% privately financed construction
  • $430 Million in new labor income

The big draw according to Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, are jobs.

“Seven thousand jobs – and after some two thousand permanent jobs – I think that is the thing economic recoveries are built on,” said Ganim.

MGM believes the major draw to the casino would come from the New York City market.

It’s an uphill battle, as the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes have exclusive rights to build casinos Connecticut.

“What we have asked Hartford to think about is just put us in the game,” said Murren.

Ganim says it the right time and the right place for the casino project.

“There’s going to be a huge economic benefit in the tune of tens or hundreds of millions of the dollars to the state, so cities and towns aren’t struggling. So legislators have answers to constituents to how they are going to balance the budget. This is part of that answer,” said Ganim.

Andrew Doba, the spokesperson for MMCT Venture, released a statement on MGM’s plan:

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.”

State Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), issued the following reaction to the announced plans:

When Gov. Malloy signed the casino expansion bill into law, I noted that a casino somewhere in Fairfield County could one day be our reality. I said that Gov. Malloy placed his bet. He signed a bad bill.

When he signed it, Gov. Malloy should have said, ‘See you in court,’ because that’s where this issue will be for years and years. Economically, it makes little sense to expand casino gambling when the Northeast faces a growing casino glut. You can’t base a successful, sustainable economy on gambling.

And what about the human costs? Casinos spread gambling addiction, debt, bankruptcies, and crime. We cannot ignore the societal costs that gambling has brought to Connecticut: The families that have been torn apart, the lost hopes, and the suicides.

I will continue to raise awareness about the costs of expanded gambling and speak out for the victims.

A diverse coalition of religious and grassroots groups has joined me. The Coalition Against Casino Expansion in Connecticut (www.NoMoreCasinosInCT.org) is comprised of Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Muslim, Methodists and Baptists.  We have undertaken what many call a ‘David vs. Goliath’ fight, but this is a fight worth having, and we will not give up.”

Residents of Bridgeport appear to be divided on the proposal. Some support the idea because it would bring jobs into the city.

“Jobs are needed here and we are paying some ridiculous taxes in the city, so anything that can come in and help give us any kind of reprieve would be appreciated,” said Bridgeport resident Mustafa Salahuddin.

Others however, believe a casino could do more harm than good to the community.

“I think they promote gambling and that can be a negative thing because gambling is very highly addictive,” explained Aaron hall of Bridgeport.

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