A coalition of elected officials and business leaders gathered in Bridgeport to reaffirm their support of MGM Resorts International’s plan to create a $675 million casino-hotel resort along the city’s waterfront.
During the just-concluded General Assembly session, a bill that would have opened bids on gaming development to non-tribal entities passed the House by 77-73, but failed to get a vote in the Senate. The proposed resort, which would be located at Steelpoint Harbor off of Stratford Avenue, cannot advance without a change to the state’s rules on gaming bids.
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim used a press conference to announce efforts to get the bill passed in the next legislative session.
“This fight continues, and something of this magnitude typically takes time to become law,” Ganim said at a press conference that was attended by state representatives from Bridgeport and Stratford. “But this public-private partnership between Bridgeport and our region, with Bridgeport Landing Development and MGM leading the charge to bring thousands of jobs through casino gaming will continue. We will raise this bill again, get it passed in the House and Senate, and get it signed by the governor, whoever that is next year.”
Mickey Herbert, president of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, joined the mayor in calling for the change in the state’s gaming laws. “It is very rare for hundreds of local businesses from the region to be as united as they are in support of opening up our laws to bring this significant gaming project to reality in the Bridgeport region,” he said. “This is all about jobs.”
Robert W. Christoph Jr., founder and president of RCI Marine, the Miami-based company whose Bridgeport Landing Development subsidiary is coordinating the Steelepointe Harbor project, also echoed the mayor’s sentiments. “I want to make it very clear that both MGM and Bridgeport Landing Development are steadfast in our commitment to the state of Connecticut and the city of Bridgeport and bringing the jobs here – it is up to us to make that happen,” he said, adding that he was “looking forward to making this happen next year.”
MGM Resorts International released a statement in conjunction with the press conference promising to work with elected officials to change the state’s law on casino operations. “Between now and the start of the next session, we intend to continue talking to the people of Connecticut and their elected representatives about the value to Connecticut of modernizing the state’s gaming framework as we build on the substantial progress that has been made this year,” the company said.