Is MGM Scrapping Its Plans For A Connecticut Casino?
[toc]MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said the company is going to focus on improving its existing Las Vegas Strip properties rather than taking on any new US constructions. Murren’s comments came during the company’s most recent earning’s call.
“Springfield, Mass, will be the home of our newest property, and our last major development project here in the United States when it opens in September,” Murren said during the call.
Many interpreted these comments as MGM scrapping its controversial plans to challenge tribal exclusivity in Connecticut. The company waas trying to build a commercial casino in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
“We called it a stunt when it was first announced, and the more we learn, it appears it is true,” Andrew Doba, a spokesman for the joint Foxwoods-Mohegan Sun casino project told the Hartford Courant. “It is clear MGM is talking out of both sides of its mouth.”
Is Bridgeport a stunt?
Play MA has reported extensively on both of Connecticut’s casino projects, but we’ve avoided the elephant in the room. Namely, that MGM’s Bridgeport casino is simply a bluff designed to stall or thwart the joint tribal casino in East Windsor, Connecticut.
Connecticut approved the Foxwoods-Mohegan Sun satellite casino earlier this year. MGM cried foul throughout the process. It’s also in MGM’s best interest to stop the project.
The proposed joint tribal casino site is about 15 minutes from the still-under-construction MGM Springfield.
But Uri Clinton, MGM Resorts’ senior vice president and legal counsel, dismissed the notion that the Bridgeport project is merely a “stunt.”
Clinton pointed to the second part of Murren’s comment. He says the MGM CEO was talking about a specific development cycle, and not necessarily about future US projects.
The line Clinton highlighted followed Murren’s initial comment:
“And that really winds down our development cycle.”
“There are new opportunities for growth that MGM is actively and aggressively pursuing that have not yet earned legislative approval — including Bridgeport,” Clinton told the Hartford Courant.
“MGM is unequivocally committed to advocating for legislation that would authorize development of a Bridgeport casino. We look forward to earning legislative approval and stand ready to begin implementing our plans.”
Even if it’s not a bluff…
… MGM’s proposed casino in Bridgeport is a long shot. There are a lot of hurdles to clear before it is even close to a reality.
However, the casino may not be the worst idea for Connecticut, as we’ve noted. It may be quite a while, if ever, before the state really has to debate its merits though.