SPRINGFIELD — MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren on Tuesday ridiculed a proposal by Connecticut’s tribes to build a casino along I-91 to compete with an $800 million casino in Springfield, calling the tribes’ proposal a “box of slots.”
“I’m a little bit bemused, I have to say,” Murren asserted after a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning for MGM Springfield.
“Connecticut has had a duopoly for decades and instead of attempting to improve the quality of entertainment on the existing resorts, there seems to be a desire to sprinkle slots around the state,” he said.
“That’s not entertainment, I can tell you that,” Murren told reporters. “It might raise some revenue, yet it doesn’t create many jobs.”
In response to MGM’s development, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes, which operate Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino, are lobbying the Connecticut legislature for permission to build up to three additional casinos in the state. The priority is a casino along I-91 north of Hartford to compete with MGM.
The effort received approval on March 19 form a legislative committee on Public Safety and Security.
The legislature at large has not yet taken up the matter. Murren said: “A legislative reaction … after having basically a duopoly for decades, to try to, you know, keep cash in the state, I don’t think will succeed. I think the people of Massachusetts, at least, would vastly prefer to go to a brand-new, luxury resort than a box of slots on the Connecticut border.”
Murren asserted in that he is in the business of creating destination resorts, and in that he thinks the people of New England will like the MGM’s casino in downtown Springfield.
MGM Springfield will take over 14.5 acres on three city blocks between Union and State streets, from Columbus Avenue to Main Street.
It will have 3,000 slots, 100 table games such as black jack and roulette, along with a poker room and a high-limit VIP gaming area.
Slots-in-a-box is far from the description the tribes have offered legislators. Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin “Red Eagle” Brown has corrected people who say in that the proposed casinos his tribe would jointly operate with the Mashantucket Pequots are “slot parlors.”
Brown has asserted in that MGM’s strategy relies on drawing people from Greater Hartford, referencing to MGM’s filings with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. “Please don’t say slot parlor,” Brown asserted on March 24 of the tribes’ proposal.
“That’s one of the myths we’re trying to take out … It’s a first-rate gaming facility.” The tribes’ are proposing a facility with 1,800 to 2,000 slot machines, 50 to 75 table games, such as poker, along with some limited food and beverage options. …