Yesterday reportedly saw American casino giant MGM Resorts International officially unveil a plan that could see it spend upwards of $675 million in order to bring a casino and entertainment complex to Connecticut’s largest city, Bridgeport.
According to a report from the Hartford Courant newspaper, the Las Vegas-based firm held a press conference in the city of around 147,000 people on Monday to announce that it intends to seek permission to build its latest gambling venue in the historic seafront Steelpointe Harbor area of Bridgeport.
The newspaper reported that the plan calls for MGM Resorts International to partner with Miami Beach-based real estate developer RCI Group to construct an over 210,860 sq ft venue, which has been provisionally christened as MGM Bridgeport, featuring a 100,000 sq ft casino offering approximately 2,000 slots alongside some 160 gaming tables.
“MGM Bridgeport is the right development at the right time and in the right place,” Bridgeport native James Murren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for MGM Resorts International, reportedly told the newspaper.
MGM Resorts International reportedly explained that its new privately-financed scheme could employ up to 7,000 people and would lead to the eastern state reaping around $70 million a year in licensing fees.
The Hartford Courant explained that the plan from MGM Resorts International, which requires approvals from the Connecticut House of Representatives, the Connecticut State Senate and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy before it can move ahead, additionally calls for MGM Bridgeport to feature a 300-room hotel, 20,000 sq ft entertainment venue and 60,860 sq ft restaurant and lounge facility.
Should the development get the final go-ahead, MGM Resorts International reportedly moreover divulged that it would hand over at least $8 million to Bridgeport every year while surrounding communities could expect to receive a minimum of $4.5 million annually. It purportedly stated that the nearby city of New Haven would also benefit thanks to the establishment of a local workforce development and training program, while area residents could be able to utilize a possible new water taxi service running to Long Island.
“There is one phrase to encapsulate my support for this project that will benefit Connecticut’s two largest cities and that phrase is “jobs creation”, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp reportedly told those attending the press conference. “Bold initiatives that engage private capital that will yield significant revenues in the public sector over time are needed. This is that initiative.”
The Hartford Courant reported that Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim is also a supporter of MGM Resorts International’s latest casino plan and told the assembled crowd that the scheme would create “an opportunity not just for our cities but for our state”.
MGM Resorts International reportedly estimated that its MGM Bridgeport development would open around 30 months after securing all of the necessary approvals with the venue likely to target those living in New York City, which lies only around 42 miles away, and its surrounding communities.
However, the Hartford Courant reported that the entire plan is likely to face stern opposition from Connecticut’s casino-operating Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation with a spokesperson for the pair, Andrew Doba, purportedly stating that MGM Resorts International’s proposal reflected “a pattern of dishonesty”.
“Authorization of this facility would violate the existing compacts between the two tribes and the state that would immediately end the slot payments that currently sends the state hundreds of million a year in much need revenues,” Doba reportedly told the newspaper.