MGM Resorts International is seeking to bring the first nontribal gambling hub to Connecticut with a resort casino to be built at Bridgeport’s Steelepointe Harbor.
The proposed MGM Bridgeport would be a $675 million establishment with a 300-room hotel, 100,000-square-foot casino, 30,000 square feet of retail space and a 900-foot boardwalk. MGM Resorts International is scheduled to offer a full view of the project at a press conference today.
MGM Resorts International, which is in the process of creating a casino across the Connecticut border in Springfield, Massachusetts, is seeking a 2021 opening for its Bridgeport project, which would require approval from the state legislature and the governor – neither of whom have shown enthusiasm for a privately operated casino in the state.
In June, MGM Resorts International Chairman and Chief Executive Jim Murren, a native of Bridgeport, used an op-ed column in the Connecticut Post to insist that “Bridgeport has always been on our radar screen” for an MGM-branded casino, but was not previously pursued because the state limited gaming to tribal lands.
“We recognize that Bridgeport was, and is, a lynchpin for Fairfield County, and for the state,” he wrote. “With its proximity to the New York market, a casino in southwest Connecticut could sustain a meaningful investment and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual economic activity for the benefit of every citizen in the state — far exceeding the alternative being considered, by bringing more than double the number of jobs and triple the revenue.”
In a March interview with the Business Journal, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim expressed ambivalence over the prospect of casino gambling in his city, noting a recent visit to upstate New York where a gambling venue had little impact on the economy of the surrounding towns.
“If it brings direct revenue back to the host community, that revenue becomes attractive along with the city becoming a destination,” he said. “A lot of people come in, go in the casino and drive out of town.”
If the project goes forward, MGM Bridgeport would become the second hotel in Bridgeport. The only lodging venue in the state’s largest city is a Holiday Inn on Main Street.