Rally held in support of proposed casino in Bridgeport

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It had the flavor of part campaign rally and part church service. Yet, at a Tuesday evening rally in New Haven it was all about jobs.

“The number one priority is jobs,” New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said to a thunderous crowd.

The rally was organized by the labor group Unite here with heavy backing from MGM Resorts. They were in support of a new bill by state Rep. Christopher Rosario to bring a casino to Bridgeport through a competitive bidding process.

Related: Bridgeport, New Haven lawmakers seek to open casino process

“People need jobs,” said Rosario. “Times are tough and the ability to have a casino such as MGM, or even the tribes bid on a proposal in Bridgeport or anywhere else in the state, I think it will probably be a shot in the arm for the economy.”

But critics are lining up to oppose a new casino in Bridgeport, including Rev. Gabrielle Beam.

“Casinos are glamorous, they’re beautiful but they’re not good for the community, particularly they’re not good for this community,” Rev. Beam said.

Related: News 8 Exclusive: Interview with MGM Chairman and CEO

Harp said there’s already help for people with gambling addiciton and other issues associated with casino gambling.

“What we’ve got to do is make sure that the help that they need is available, and we’ve already done that in our state because we’ve had gaming in our state for the past 25 years,” Harp said.

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