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MGM Resorts Promises To Make Bridgeport A 'Destination' With Casino

Mayor Joe Ganim welcomes the MGM Bridgeport to the city. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa
An artist's rendering of MGM Bridgeport show a 10-story hotel that would be built on the former Carpenter Technology property off Seaview Avenue, with a boardwalk, casino and retail space. Photo Credit: Contributed
The former site of Carpenter Technology off Seaview Avenue is the proposed site of the MGM Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa
Swag for the proposed MGM Bridgeport Photo Credit: Karen Tensa

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — MGM unveiled plans Monday to invest $675 million in building a new casino and resort on the harbor in Bridgeport.

To make the announcement, officials from MGM and developer The RCI Group gathered with city and state officials under a tent on an empty expanse of land overlooking Bridgeport Harbor and across from the Bass Pro Shops and Harbor Yard.

"This is a big day for Steelpointe and a big day for Bridgeport," said Robert Christoph Sr., RCI’s chairman. The casino would "bring prosperity to the people of Connecticut and the entire state of Connecticut."

MGM's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Murren, a Bridgeport native, said the casino would be "a major economic force, a top-tier entertainment resort, and an essential contributor to this community."

He promised to "make Bridgeport a destination" with the new resort at Steelpointe Harbor. The casino would create 7,779 jobs, direct and indirectly, and bring $430 million in new labor income.

The development would include a 300-room hotel,  a 900-foot boardwalk, a 100,000-square-foot casino, 2,000 slot machines, a 700-seat theater, 160 table games, five restaurants and 30,000-square feet of retail space.

MGM would also make $8 million in annual payments to the city and $4.5 million to surrounding communities. It would also make a $50 million gambling license fee to the state of Connecticut.

But MGM is lacking one important thing in its plan: approval of the state to open a casino.

Connecticut currently has two casinos — Foxwoods operated by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe and the Mohegan Sun run by the Mohegan tribe. The state has approved a plan for a third casino in East Windsor to be run by a joint venture of the two tribes, which have exclusive casino rights in the state.

Andrew Doba, a spokesman for MMCT Venture, blasted the announcement.

"The idea that MGM is having a 'groundbreaking' for a project that hasn't come close to receiving legislative approval continues a pattern of dishonesty that we saw time and again during the legislative session," he said.

"Simply put, authorization of this facility would violate the existing compacts between the two tribes and the state, which would immediately end the slot payments that currently sends the state hundreds of million a year in much needed revenue. Our state's elected officials saw through their dishonesty last session, and we expect them to see this latest fib for exactly what it is — another bought and paid for piece of misinformation."

MGM is currently building a new casino in Springfield, Mass., which is slated to open next year.

Officials said construction, if approved, in Bridgeport would take 30 months, with an opening in 2021 planned. They said its primary market would be New York City.

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