Lawmakers from Greater New Haven and Greater Bridgeport say it’s a job challenged area and needs
an industry that can create job growth and they want to place their bets on a Bridgeport casino. The popularity of the MGM proposal for a casino complex on the Bridgeport waterfront is reflected in the near unanimous support by state lawmakers from Greater New Haven and Greater Bridgeport. “You have to give the Bridgeport and New Haven group a lot of credit. They are advocating strongly for their constituency,” said the Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin).
They completely reject the notion that the Bridgeport bill in any way jeopardizes the current slot machine revenue sharing compact with the Mohegans and Mashantuckets. Rep. Steven Stafstrom (D-Bridgeport) saying, “The Attorney General has been very clear in his testimony before the Public Safety Committee and his letters to legislative leadership that this bill does not in any way jeopardize the compact.” Rep,. Toni Walker (D-New Haven) adding, “If we put a shovel in the ground and we start to collect money, that would be one thing but all we are doing is we’re trying to make sure that Connecticut gets the best deal for a casino that is stated in this area.”
But legislators from around East Windsor and in Southeastern Connecticut say the Bridgeport bill is designed simply to derail the financing for the casino the tribes want to build on the former movie theater complex just a few miles south of where the new MGM casino complex is now scheduled to open this summer in Springfield. Sen. Paul Formica (R-Niantic) saying, “We want to make sure that we get the East Windsor process in and complete and we don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that process so let’s get that open first, get that underway and then we can talk about what happens in the future.”
But advocates for the competitive bidding for a commercial casino license say that Connecticut not only has to worry about Springfield, but also a mega casino complex being built in Boston which is also expected to cut into business at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun making a Bridgeport location possibly much more profitable for the state.