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MGM study reveals Fairfield County as better fit for new casino

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada – A new economic analysis released Thursday afternoon showed that Fairfield County in southwest Connecticut would bring three times more jobs and generate $545 million more in economic output than one in north central Connecticut.

The study showed that the Fairfield County casino would also bring in four times the tax receipts, three times the overall revenue.

The comprehensive report, conducted Oxford Economics, showed that 3,600 more jobs and $128 million more in total tax revenues, based on more than $1 billion in new investment, would result from establishing Connecticut’s first commercial casino in southwestern Connecticut, as compared with a commercial casino in the Hartford region.

The objective of the economic analysis, commissioned by MGM, was to consider where in Connecticut the state could reap the best benefits from a commercial casino, in terms of jobs recaptured for state residents, revenue and economic activity for the state.

“The bottom line question is where does Connecticut get the best deal? The more comprehensive the study, the clearer the answer becomes. It is not in the Hartford region. Southwest Connecticut offers a market that brings more jobs, more revenue and more opportunity for economic growth. The Oxford Economics study, as a precursor to a full-blown state analysis, precisely lays out the facts,” said Alan Feldman, MGM Executive Vice President, Global Government and Industry Affairs, in a statement released with the study.

The state last year provided exclusive rights to develop a commercial casino to a new commercial entity, MMCT, formed by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, which currently operate casinos only on tribal land. It would be the first time that a casino outside of tribal land would be permitted in Connecticut. MMCT commissioned twin studies last year that focused primarily on the impact of a casino in north central Connecticut, and did not consider a sole commercial casino in southwest Connecticut.

MGM is now building Massachusetts’ first casino in neighboring Springfield and MGM is suing Connecticut.

“We have said consistently that there should be an open, competitive, fair and transparent process that allows Connecticut to determine what would be most beneficial if there is to be a commercial casino,” Feldman said in the statement.

Last week, some state lawmakers said they need to know much more about the ramifications of allowing a third casino in Connecticut before they pass any legislation approving the project.

“It should surprise exactly no one that an MGM funded study finds that the best place to put a new casino is as far away as possible from MGM Springfield,” said Andrew Doba of Stu Loeser & Co., representing MMCT. “Our goal today is the same as it was when we started this process last year – to make sure that Connecticut jobs don’t migrate over the border to Massachusetts.”