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Supreme Court Decision Spurs Casino Push

Ryan Knuppel

Unbeknownst to them, when the Supreme Court decided outlawing sports gambling in some states and not others was obviously unconstitutional, they inadvertently spiked Connecticut’s construction industry. Not only is every state in the union now dealing with how to legalize, regulate, secure, and tax sports gambling, they are being lobbied harder than ever for more casinos. That’s a well-established lobby, mind you. And now, lawmakers in Bridgeport, Connecticut have revived long dead legislation this week to open up the bidding process for a casino of their own now that the Supreme Court has weighed in.

The legislation would give the state huge profits. 25% from slot machine revenue and 35% table game revenue from a casino built in Bridgeport before the state’s fees even come in. That’s quite a payday in any state, at any casino.

Here’s what State Representative Steven Stafstrom had to say on the matter shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision. “We believe it’s time that Connecticut has an open, transparent and honest process and discussion about casino gaming here in Connecticut. But, I don’t understand how we can have that conversation until we’ve allowed any and all interested bidders to lay their cards on the table and come forward to the state with their best proposal.” The State Rep wants a casino so bad he’s speaking in gambling cliches.

MGM Resorts wants a casino in Bridgeport as well and has proposed a $700 million resort which includes a, wait for it… casino. But so do many other influential parties, and when you think of all the jobs and revenue it can create for the state, the Rep. Stafstrom makes a great point.

Connecticut already has two casinos which are tribally owned and they both, Foxwoods Casino and the Mohegan Sun Casino, have a major interest in a new shop in Bridgeport. MGM has a new casino opening in Springfield, Massachusetts in August and due to its proximity, Connecticut is afraid it will lose out on revenue as well as jobs. The MGM Springfield project is a one billion (that’s with a “B”) dollar resort, and it’s only a few miles away.

With the potential for thousands of new jobs to be created, the supporters of the Bridgeport casino say everyone can win if there is fast action. Fast action and politics don’t usually go hand in hand. However, the idea is a popular one with the majority of the voters in Bridgeport. Outgoing State Senator Ed Gomes has stated, “Make room for everybody. Bridgeport needs its turn at being redeveloped.”

Redeveloped. That is a keyword to consider. State houses across the United States see casinos and legalized sports gambling as their financial savior. And they aren’t wrong. The gamblers create the money, and that creates the jobs that create the revenue that creates the construction that ensures the redevelopment. This legislation was dead for years in Connecticut until last week when the Supreme Court, whether they knew it or not, said, “ No, it isn’t. You can build a casino…”

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