News 8 Exclusive: Interview with MGM Chairman and CEO James Murren

An artist's depiction of what the MGM Bridgeport could look like.

Part One: The Homecoming

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH)–Jim Murren is arguably the most powerful casino executive in the world.

The Fairfield County native oversees 27 properties from Las Vegas to Macao as Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International.

Now, he wants his next one to be in his birthplace.

Related Content: New survey reveals support levels for proposed Bridgeport casino

Murren told News 8 Investigator George Colli that he believes Bridgeport fits into MGM’s urban renewal strategy for business and personal reasons.

“My great-grandfather had a bar in Bridgeport and put all his kids through school. My grandfather was a dentist in Bridgeport and put all his kids through school. My father was a lawyer who practiced in Bridgeport – put all his kids through school. My sister will be in the audience. My brother would be in the audience but he passed away. He ran the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven. My connections are as deep as I think you can have,” he said.

Murren was the key note speaker at the annual Bridgeport Regional Business Council Annual Dinner Tuesday night. He’s made the pitch for a casino to similar audiences in Springfield, MA, Washington DC and Detroit, MI but on this night he’s doing with his mother and sister in the front row.

“It’s very emotional for me,” said Murren. “It is a homecoming and more meaningful to me than simply making a presentation.”

MGM announced in September the plans to put a $675 Million dollar casino and entertainment complex at SteelPointe Harbor. Murren says it will bring thousand of jobs and millions of dollars to Bridgeport and the surrounding communities.

Murren says he is just following the lead of those in the city that are building housing, developing retail and bringing back the arts.

“I see a walkable, very vibrant city on Long Island Sound where people from Long Island, New York, Rhode Island, around Connecticut are going to experience the beauty of the harbor,” Murren said. “Wouldn’t that be great? I want to be a part of that.”

Before any of that can happen, the project must get legislative approval.

That is easier said than done.

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