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July 23, 2019Cart

Business

by Fairfield County Business Journal
by FCBJ

Tribes’ last-minute proposal for Bridgeport casino appears to fail

An 11th hour bid by Bridgeport to partner with the state’s two tribal casino owners to build a gambling complex in that city appears to have failed.

The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes, which respectively operate the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos, teamed with Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim in a last-minute drive to push through legislation that would give the tribes $100 million in city and state funding toward building the $350 million project.

That deal – proposed as an amendment that state Sen. Dennis Bradley, D-Bridgeport, attached to the existing casino expansion bill before the General Assembly – also would have allowed the tribes to go forward with their plans to build a $300 million casino, Tribal Winds, in East Windsor to compete with the $900 million MGM Springfield that opened last year, as well as the right to develop up to three other “entertainment zone” operations with sports wagering in other communities.

MGM, which has long desired to open its own $675 million gambling complex in Bridgeport, had no comment.

Although Gov. Ned Lamont had expressed interest in working with the tribes in Bridgeport earlier this year – a notion rejected by the tribes, as it would have required working alongside MGM – his administration discouraged lawmakers from approving the new gambling complex during its regular session, which ended at midnight last night. The proposal could still be considered during the legislature’s special session, but that appears unlikely.

“This 11th hour proposal has not been fully vetted or reviewed, and … it’s not in the public’s best interest to take up this matter,” according to a Lamont spokesperson. “It puts the state at increased and immediate litigation risk from multiple parties.”