MGM International has announced its intention to build a resort casino in Bridgeport. The gaming giant Monday held a ground-breaking ceremony for the project at Steelepoint Harbor on the city’s waterfront.
But any such development would need a license from the state, which would require Connecticut to renegotiate its revenue sharing agreement with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes, the owners of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.
MGM unsuccessfully sued Connecticut over plans to build a third casino in East Windsor, saying the state should have awarded the contract through an open bidding process.
The East Windsor facility will be built by a partnership between the two tribal nations.
MGM is constructing a new casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, a facility which the tribes claim will threaten their business in Connecticut.
MGM has signed a contract with the RCI Group, the developer of Steelepoint Harbor in Bridgeport, to build the resort. The company is promising that it will create 7,000 jobs, and remit $8 million in annual payments to the city.
MGM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Murren, a Bridgeport native, said MGM Bridgeport can be “a major economic force, a top-tier entertainment resort, and an essential contributor to this community.”
"This project can help to turn the economic tide of this state," said Murren. "We just need the political commitment to make it happen.”
The intention is for the casino to tap the New York market. MGM says it will offer 2,000 slot machines, 160 table games, a 7,000-seat theater, 300-room hotel, as well as shops and restaurants.
Meanwhile, MMCT, the partnership venture formed by the two tribes to build the East Windsor casino, called the announcement a stunt.
"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," said partnership spokesman Andrew Doba in a statement.
"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 need revenue," he added.