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MGM out; Bridgeport close to deal on tribal casino

HARTFORD — A bombshell announcement from the Capitol Friday that could terminate the proposal for MGM to build a casino in Bridgeport.

Fox 61 has confirmed that the Bridgeport delegation of lawmakers who had previously said they supported an open and competitive bidding process for a casino are now close to an deal with the tribes for them to build in Bridgeport.

This would very likely trigger legal action by MGM, who has already threatened to sue over the Tribal Winds Casino in East Windsor.

This deal is significant for several reasons. First, it’s being negotiated without direct input from the Governor. The Governor was previously trying to renegotiate the state gaming compact with the tribes to tackle sports betting, but those talks broke down.

Secondly, because revenues have been declining at the Tribal casinos and it’s not clear how this casino would be funded. House Speaker Aresimowicz said Friday the state won’t be kicking in any money. He said he never gave up on trying to negotiate. 

We talked to one of the lead negotiators from the Bridgeport delegation. Rep. Chris Rosario, (D) Bridgeport said, “This is something that has been kind of dormant all session and then over the last 24 to 48 hours it went zero to 60 in two seconds and the most that I can say is that there have been conversations with the tribes and legislative leaders. They’ve been fruitful and they continue to be ongoing.”

J.P. Sredzinski, (R) Ranking Member, Public Safety Committee said, “To be frank I know nothing about them. We haven’t been included. As the ranking member on public safety it very frustrating to hear rumors or speculation from lobbyists or the press about what’s going on when we haven’t been in the room or even apprised of what’s happening in the room.”

Were told this a Tribal casino in Bridgeport would likely be smaller than the one MGM proposed.

Leadership put the odds of a bill getting passed either in special session or before Wednesday at about 20%. We reached out to both the tribes and MGM, they declined to comment.

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