Connecticut Senate shelves Bridgeport casino for next year

Connecticut Senate shelves Bridgeport casino for next year

Looks like MGM Resorts International celebrated its legislative victory in Connecticut too soon.

Connecticut Senate shelves Bridgeport casino for next yearProponents of the proposed Bridgeport casino were dealt with a major blow after Connecticut’s state Senate thumbed down a proposal to debate a bill that would allow casino operators to compete in an open license bidding process.

The Hartford Courant reported that proponents will have to start all over again with the whole legislative process in 2019 after the Senate killed their hopes for the bill passing this year. Bridgeport Democrat Rep. Christopher Rosario consoled himself with the fact that it was the first time in 25 years that “that any piece of gaming legislation has gotten out of the House chamber.”

Before the House’s historic 77-73 vote last Friday, members locked horns on the issue on whether the measure would violate its standing agreement with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes.

“To even get to where we were is herculean task, and I’m optimistic about our prospects next session.” Rosario said, according to the news outlet.

Rep. Juan Candelaria, who also backed the bill, said supporters of the bill should understand that lawmakers have other urgent matters to debate, including the state budget.

MGM also vowed to make a comeback next year. The casino operator had been lobbying hard to construct a new casino on Bridgeport’s waterfront to counter the proposed casino of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes in East Windsor, which received a green light from lawmakers in 2017.

“A year ago, the bill never received a floor vote,” MGM and its development partner, RCI group said in a joint statement. “This year, it passed the House. That is significant. We realize that change is hard and takes time, and we respect the delegation’s preference not to dominate debate with this issue with much to accomplish in a short time in the session’s final hours.”