Connecticut could lose $68.3 million in revenue once MGM Resorts International opens its casino in Springfield in 2018.
The legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis drafted the estimate for lawmakers and said that would be the impact in fiscal year 2019.
A spokesman for Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes, which have formed a joint venture to build a third casino outside their reservations, said the fiscal note drives home their argument about the need for a new casino north of Hartford.
“We are fully aware of the negative impact MGM’s facility will have on both jobs and revenue,” Andrew Doba, a spokesman for MMCT Venture, said. “A hit like this to the state’s bottom line will lead to more cuts to essential social services, and more tough choices for our state leaders. We need to get this right, and make sure that losses of this magnitude never come to fruition.”
MMCT Venture has reopened the bidding process for towns to submit their proposals for a new casino. The Connecticut General Assembly would still need to approve the proposal.
Alan Feldman, executive vice president, of MGM Resorts International, which is suing Connecticut for allowing only the tribes to create an entity to participate in opening a new casino, said “if Connecticut wants to maximize job creation and revenue for the state, it needs to open up the process so that it is fair, transparent, and competitive.”
He said a report by Oxford Economics found opening a casino in southwestern Connecticut would “generate many more jobs and far more revenue than the number contained in this OFA report.”
Tony Ravosa of Silver Lane Partners LLC, which is hoping MMCT Ventures chooses its East Hartford location as the site for the third casino, said the OFA numbers mean the state is anticipating a decrease in “slot win” for the two tribal casinos in southeastern Connecticut at $273.2 million in the first year of MGM’s Springfield operation.
“The reality is that the clock is ticking with MGM Springfield’s opening now just 23 months out,” Ravosa said. “We have long maintained that, if the tribes and state neglect to select and approve a site for the third Connecticut casino in relatively short order, the potential impact on the state budget would be sizable and debilitating. OFA has now reaffirmed this big time.”