MGM to build Connecticut casino

Sep 19, 2017 3:00 AM

MGM Resorts International announced plans Monday for a $675 million waterfront casino in Hartford, Conn., according to an Associated Press report. The casino would compete with both Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun casinos in the southeastern part of the state, both run by Native American tribes.

MGM is already building a nearly $1 billion casino in Springfield, Mass., that threatens to take revenue and jobs away from both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, the report said. The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes responded by proposing a casino less than 20 miles away from Springfield in northern Connecticut that was approved by Connecticut officials and awaits final approval by federal authorities.

The two tribes said in a statement Monday that the Bridgeport casino isn’t anywhere near receiving required approval from the state legislature and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D). They also said approval of the resort would violate the gambling compact between the tribes and the state that gives the tribes exclusive casino development rights in Connecticut.

MGM and its partner on the Bridgeport casino, development company RCI Group, vowed to “work diligently” to obtain the needed approvals.

The new casino would include 2,000 slot machines, 160 table games, a 700-seat theater, a 300-room hotel, restaurants and retail shops, according to MGM. It would add more than 7,000 new jobs in the Bridgeport area, as well as provide $50 million in license fees to the state this fiscal year, $8 million in yearly payments to the city of Bridgeport and $4.5 million in annual payments to surrounding communities, according to MGM.

MGM sued Connecticut in 2015 over the process used by the state to approve the casino proposed by the two tribes in East Windsor, about a 20-minute drive from the Springfield casino site. MGM said it was put at a competitive disadvantage after Connecticut officials created a special pathway for the tribes to build a casino on non-tribal land.

A federal appeals court in June 2017 upheld a lower court judge’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit.