MGM Resorts continues Connecticut protest
August 08, 2016 9:57 AM
by Phil Hevener
MGM Resorts has accused the Connecticut Airport Authority of not being transparent in its pitch for Bradley Airport becoming the site of a casino to be jointly owned and operated by the two Indian tribes now running casinos in the state.
The tribes, who own and operate Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino in southeastern Connecticut, have yet to announce a location for their joint venture. They also still need local approvals and the consent of the General Assembly and governor.
The third Connecticut casino was conceived in an effort to blunt competition MGM is expected to offer when it opens a casino in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.
Las Vegas-based MGM has said it wanted a chance to bid for the right to build the third casino but was prevented from doing so by Connecticut legislation that appeared to bar bidders other than the tribes. MGM has since gone to court to challenge these limitations.
Bradley Airport became a player in the drama when the Authority proposed it as a site for the casino.
“Calling this a ‘satellite casino’ — which is how they all referred to this in public — is like calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground,” said Alan Feldman, executive vice president for MGM. MGM has even attacked the Airport Authority’s proposal in a Facebook post.
Dillon denied the claim, saying the proposed gambling facility would have been incorporated into the new ground transportation center, which will house rental car companies and other transportation services. Dillon also argued the authority has discussed the project publicly and released its proposal after pulling it from consideration by the tribes.
Whatever the outcome, the dispute shines on a bright light on the competition between regional casino ventures.
Veteran casino executive Steve Norton questioned some of the logic and arguments saying, "Since Connecticut has not legalized commercial arguments in the state, how can the partnership between the Mohegan Sun and Foxwood (tribes) without the two tribes receiving land in trust status from the federal government.”