MGM Has Mastered the Art of the Stunt – David Collins

I’ve always thought it was lazy to just promote someone else’s post in place of mine, but today is the exception.

While reading the morning paper, I came upon David Collins’s article in The Day.

Bravo!

(standing up, clapping, and getting a strange look from my wife)

David Collins is Genius. Bravo! Bravo!

What was I excited about?  His OpEd on the recent MGM bomb dropped on Connecticut concerning a casino in Bridgeport.  After yesterday’s NETG post MGM Bridgeport Casino – All The Angles, explaining the many considerations and connections involved with a Bridgeport Casino in CT, I was wondering if I was objective enough, or maybe too objective.

David Collins, New London Day Columnist

Then David Collins comes along today and says so articulately what many of us think in MGM’s meddling in CT’s affairs.

THIS IS A MUST READ.

So, without further ado, click on this post by David Collins.

MGM Has Mastered the Art of the Stunt – David Collins

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did at NETG.  You can contact David Collins at email  d.collins@theday.com & Twitter  DavidCollinsct

Bin

Mayor Sarno Needs To Focus on Springfield

According to MassLive’s Peter Goonan, Mayor Domenic Sarno reacted to a court decision favorable MMCT’s proposal for a new tribal casino in Connecticut, by referring  to it as a “glorified slots parlor.”

Wow, did he follow that up with a “nah, nah-nah, nah nah… or sticking out his tongue?”

Sarno obviously doesn’t know the differences in casino offerings.  If he wants to see what a “slot parlor” IS, he should go east to Plainville, MA where Plainridge Park Casino, the only Massachusetts casino resides and is the only one bringing in revenue.

You see Mr. Sarno, slot joints don’t have table games.  But, Mr. Sarno, let’s compare the casino aspect of each future property:

PROPERTY                          MGM SPRINGFIELD                       MMCT EAST WINDSOR, CT CASINO

Gaming Space                          125,000-square-foot                       200,000 square foot
Slot Machines                          3,000 slot machines                        2,000 slot machines
Table Games                               75 gaming tables                            50 to 150 gaming tables
Both will have a poker room, high limit areas, hospitality services like restaurants, shops, and entertainment.

Proposed MMCT joint venture casino between CT’s Mohegan & Pequot tribes

So where’s the difference?  Well, the CT casino has proposed more square footage and more table games.  Hmmm, doesn’t sound like a glorified slot parlor to me.

Now, we know that proposals change, right Mr. Sarno?  MGM’s Michael Mathis admitted that things change – hopefully to enhance the final product. CT’s casino may change from its original plan.  But don’t hold it against them. Remember the following MGM changes & proposal changes?

  1. Where is that hotel tower MGM initially promised?  Oh yeah, plans were changed.
  2. And jobs for the residents of Springfield? According to Chris Goudreau from ValleyAdvocate@Play.com, More than half of the unemployed population in Springfield — 2,150 people — could be automatically disqualified from getting a job at the MGM casino, slated to open in late-2018, under the current state gaming laws, according to MGM research performed to help change the Massachusetts gaming law.  I understand you are a “man of the people” and are working to help change the employment considerations set up by the state and the MGC.  That change has promise for the people of Springfield!

    An updated rendering released in September 2015 shows MGM Springfield’s scaled-back hotel plan, which no longer includes a 25-story glass tower. Pictured here is the new site of the hotel, at Main and Howard.
    MGM SPRINGFIELD / COURTESY THE SPRINGFIELD REPUBLICAN PHOTO DESK

     

  3. How about apartments for the area around the casino? MGM may put some of its market-rate apartments in the old Court Square Hotel on Elm Street, across from Springfield City Hall. Now its plans for the old school department building at 195 State Street are unclear.  MGM has been considering putting all its apartments at the old Court Square Hotel.  In case you don’t know, market rate housing is any apartment that has no rent restrictions. A landlord who owns market rate housing is free to attempt to rent the space at whatever price the local market may fetch, beneficial for landlords, as it is less complicated and they may be able to generate higher rent income as a result.  Definitely not affordable housing to help out Springfield’s residents.

So, changes do happen in the planning. They are to be expected – just ask MGM.  And it’s true!

So, Mr. Sarno, why are you so worried about CT’s third casino?  Do you have so little faith in MGM’s promise to raise the quality of life with this new model of “urban casino?” Concentrate on what matters most – the future of Springfield, MA.  The residents, the businesses, the unemployed – they all need your help.

MGM’s plans include lots to be excited about.  Fresh ideas entwined with MGM success and Springfield’s blue-collar fabric make for big potential.  MGM is not a casino company, it’s a “resort” company – and a very successful one at that. Look at what they are building for Springfield:

Armory Marketplace, rendering courtesy of MGM Springfield.

The “Amory Square” – Dining, Retail and Entertainment District has so much to offer the residents and visitors of Springfield:

  • 165,000 square feet of dining, retail and entertainment space
  • 15 shops and restaurants
  • Movie cinema – 50,000 sq-ft and 12 screens
  • Bowling alley – 20,000 sq-ft
  • Outdoor stage for free live music and entertainment
  • Location between Union and Howard streets
  • Multi-level parking garage with 5,000 parking spaces. (as long as it’s FREE parking?)

And a Hotel that offers:

  • 25-story hotel with 250 rooms
  • World-class spa
  • Pool – 10,000 square fee
  • Roof deck – 35,000 square fee
  • Outdoor garden
  • Meeting and banquet space – 40,000 square feet
  • The hotel will use the existing building facade at 73 State Street

This is what MGM does best.

Finally Mr. Sarno, I believe you should follow your own advice concerning MGM Springfield, “…..my focus should and will be on what we can direct and control – continuing to put a first class resort establishment in Springfield.”  (Your words, no one else’s!) Stay away from the name calling – it shows a lack of understanding and is beneath those officials in government we, and Springfield, put our trust in.

Enough said.

Binbin

Connecticut Lawmakers, MGM, & CT Casino Expansion

Let’s start with some statistics:

  • Total employment in Connecticut is below the level of jobs that existed in Feb. 1989 – 27 years without any permanent job growth in the state.
  • Since 2007, only Nevada and Illinois have seen less growth in personal income.
  • Once the state’s third largest sector, non-durable manufacturing (something produced for the consumer’s immediately use and usually has an expected lifespan of three years or less) is nearly $15 billion below its previous peak in fall 2007.


It’s no wonder that lawmakers from the Bridgeport and New Haven areas are calling for an open, competitive process for the evaluation of casino proposals.  The two largest cities in Connecticut would like a chance change some of their resident’s hard times.  Like many regions of the country, southwestern legislators think gambling casinos are the answer.

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

A bill was recently proposed for the establishment of “a transparent and competitive process for the issuance of commercial gaming licenses by the Department of Consumer Protection.”  Legislation authorizing commercial rather than tribal casinos would have to be enacted before the tribes — or anyone else for that matter — could open a third casino in the state.This is direct conflict with the current MMCT venture by the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans. A 2015 law enabled the tribes to jointly pursue proposals for casino sites from Connecticut municipalities.

Why? Jobs is the main concern.  But is there some shenanigans in the background?

Jim Murren and MGM Resorts

Jim Murren & MGM Resorts

MGM Resorts International, the gaming giant whose development of a $950 million casino resort in Springfield, Mass., has been against the CCMT from the get go.  Of course, they favor the bill.  MGM has even commissioned market research that determined that a casino in Bridgeport would be more beneficial to the state than one in north-central Connecticut.  But have they considered their competition – the New York City area casinos, such as Empire City and Resorts World, which just happen to be some of the most popular and lucrative in the country.

“These legislators have it right, and they are proposing what Connecticut should have done from day one: put in place a process that is fair, open, transparent, reliable, and competitive,” Alan Feldman, an MGM Resorts executive vice president, said in a statement. “That’s how Connecticut wins — with a process that allows all qualified bidders to compete and the state to get the best deal. It is hands down the best way for the state to maximize the number of jobs that can be created, and the amount of gaming revenue that can be generated.”

The Pequots and the Mohegans now remit 25 percent of their slots revenue in accordance with exclusive gaming agreements with the state. The addition of commercial casino would legally allow the tribes to pay nothing, nullifying the compact with the state.

I think it should be looked into.  Like Massachusetts, a huge application fee of an industry giant could be taken, put in the coffers, with no responsibility to any of them.  They could also follow the northern neighbor by choosing to give a licence then taking it back and not issuing it due to the possibility of over-saturation, as in Brockton and Rush gaming southeastern licence.

mgm-nation-harbor

MGM National Harbor

And why is MGM so happy to stir the pot?  My opinion – greed and exclusivity.  Conquering the east coast gambling market is on the agenda of MGM International.  They have already become the single owner of Borgata – the best casino in Atlantic City.  They built Washington National Harbor in Maryland, close to D.C.  A Georgia licence is becoming more of a priority.  And their strangle-hold in Las Vegas as caused the death of a sacred Vegas amenity – free parking.  What better to conquer Connecticut with a “if we can’t have one, no one else should” strategy.

Any way you look at, Connecticut’s economic woes won’t be solved by casinos. Deciding the fate of casino expansion depends on sifting through the smoke-screens and scratching deep enough to find the real intentions of all parties concerned.