MGM Resorts Launches Ad Campaign Attacking Connecticut Airport Casino

Posted on: August 26, 2016, 09:41h. 

Last updated on: August 26, 2016, 04:04h.

MGM attacks Bradley International Casino Proposal
MGM’s ad blitz against a casino proposed for Bradley International Airport is unnecessary, says Connecticut’s two tribal operators, as the plans are no longer being considered. (Image: Image Connecticut Post)

MGM Resorts International has launched an online ad campaign attacking plans for a casino at Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport, across the border from its $950 million resort, currently under construction in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The plans for a casino at Bradley International have been secretive and somewhat mysterious. Earlier this year, Connecticut passed a law that would permit its two tribal operators, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations, to build a “satellite” casino, close to the Massachusetts border.

MGM has made no secret of its intention to derive a large percentage of its customer base from Connecticut and it was hoped that the satellite would prevent capital flight across the border.

The satellite project was derided as a “box of slots,” by MGM CEO Jim Murren, but the company was significantly rattled to launch legal proceedings against the state claiming the satellite casino was unconstitutional and protectionist.

“Secret” Plans

MGM also attempted to get an amendment added to a federal defense bill that would have prohibited Native American tribes from operating casinos in their home state outside their reservations, putting paid to the satellite casino. The amendment, proposed by two senators from Nevada, was ultimately scuttled in the US Senate.

But MGM got wind that something was cooking at Bradley International and demanded the release of documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Much to the company’s consternation, the “small satellite casino” had morphed into a $500 million 250,000-square-foot facility with restaurants and entertainment that hoped to attract 10,000 visitors a day.

“Calling this a ‘satellite casino’ which is how they all referred to this in public, is like calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground,” said Alan Feldman, executive vice president for MGM.

 “Bad Deal”

MGM wasted no time in launching their online ad campaign calling the airport casino is a “bad deal” that will “scam” taxpayers.

“In (MGM’s) application to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, their business plan relies on capturing $ 200-$300 million a year in gross gaming revenue from the state of Connecticut, so anything less than that makes the current business plan untenable,” Clyde Barrow, a gambling industry expert at the Political Science Department at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, told WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

But according to the Airport Authority and the two tribal operators, this is all a storm in a teacup. The plans obtained by MGM were outdated and the proposal they describe is no longer being considered, they said.

“This latest attack by MGM reeks of desperation,” said Andrew Doba, a spokesman for the tribes.