MGM Bridgeport Casino – All The Angles

“That’s all I can stands, cuz I can’t stands n’more!” – Popeye

Alright, now you did it.  MGM, you even got Popeye all upset with your latest Connecticut propaganda!

When I first started NETimeGambling.com, all I wanted was two things: 1) to supply the latest news and information about New England’s Casinos, and 2) that these seven casinos would behave in a way that would benefit New England Tourism.

After almost five years, I now see it’s all about the almighty dollar, no matter what the economic needs of the residents are.  How naive of me!

And how naive are Bridgeport residents to think that MGM’s prime purpose with this casino mumbo-jumbo is the well-being of Bridgeport. Yes, it will help the jobless plight of the city big-time, while bringing in the usual negative culprits, according to State Senator  Tony Hwang:

  • Property owners see their home values decrease.
  • Communities see increases in crime, traffic, drunk and impaired driving.
  • Local businesses see people spend money in the casino instead of in the local economy.
  • Vulnerable residents — seniors, low-income residents, and the addicted — are enticed by the glitz of the casino and often succumb to their lure.

But you can say that about all casinos with vast differences in those negative effects from casino to casino.  In Plainville, home to Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts, the Plainville police report seeing little of the expected increase due to the new casino.

But the scope of this bombshell dropped on CT must be seen from all sides. Let’s look at the whole picture, shall we?

Casino.org says, “Although Connecticut’s two tribal operators believe it’s part of a very elaborate bluff, an artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino, which the gaming operator says will bring 2,000 permanent jobs and a tax revenue stream of $316 million per year, has been created and presented to the state’s power brokers. (Image: MGM Resorts International)

Proposal After Proposal

MGM Resorts International’s announced this week plans for a casino and hotel on the banks of the Yellow Mill River. Three decades ago, the Carpenter Technology plant in Bridgeport’s East End shut its doors, costing 600 jobs.  But, MGM has offered plans to build a new casino with 2,000 slot machines, 160 table games, a 700-seat theater, a 300-room hotel, restaurants and retail shops.

This is not a new idea.  Large gaming companies, such as Harrah’s (now Caesars), Mirage Resorts (now MGM), Carnival Hotels & Casinos, Circus Circus Enterprises (now part of MGM), Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts and the Mashantucket Pequots all had letters of intent submitted for expanded gambling in 1995, which was defeated in a lop-sided vote in the legislature.  The Bridgeport casino Steelpointe Harbor location is the same area where President Donald Trump proposed a casino in the 1990s. So what’s different now?

The New Proposal – Murren’s Ties

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren, left, with Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim (Dan Haar / The Hartford Courant)

Dan Haar of the Hartford Courant quoted CEO of MGM Resorts International Jim Murren as saying “I know Bridgeport’s very historic, important roots and it’s heartbreaking to see what’s happened over the last 60 years.”  Mr. Murren is heartbroken over the dire straits in Bridgeport.  Mr. Haar then goes on to explain Murren’s ties to the area, having been “born here.”  Be careful, reading this article may cause cavities from all the sweet sentiment involved – MGM Bridgeport Casino Solves A Lot Of Problems

Remember how naive anyone, including Bridgeport and the surrounding residents, might act if someone knocked on the door and promised the answer to all their economic woes.  But, if Bridgeport is SO important to MGM and Mr. Murren emotionally, consider this.

The new casino in Springfield Massachusetts that MGM is building gives the city of Springfield a billion-dollar MGM casino, but Bridgeport–with ready access to the New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield/Westchester County markets, is only being offered warrants a half-billion dollar facility. Also, Springfield, as the host city, will receive payments of $25 million a year, and the proposal calls for Bridgeport to be paid only $8 million.  If Jim Murren is altruistically concerned for his hometown’s economy, shouldn’t he be “showing them the money”

Location, Location, Location

Supposedly, Bridgeport is prime property to help the city and state out of budget woes, because it is close to the city that never sleeps – NYC. The Big Apple would be the answer CT is looking for concerning the state’s budget deficit and Bridgeport’s jobless residents.

Seen from the site, the P.T. Barnum ferry returns from Long Island, at distance. (Dan Haar / The Hartford Courant)

FYI – An hour away from Bridgeport there’s Empire City in Yonkers, which gets a lot of advertising and seems to be doing quite well. Then there is Resorts World, which is right within the 5 boroughs in Queens near Aqueduct Raceway and JFK airport. Monticello Hotel & Casino, and Resorts World Catskills (which opens in 2018, months before MGM Springfield) are similar distances to Bridgeport as the CT tribal casinos, which will pose a threat to anything MGM builds in Bridgeport.

Empire City Casino, Yonkers, NY

New York’s new casinos north of NYC still struggle to bring in the traffic they anticipated, and they would be more competition for MGM Springfield.  Considering the third casino in CT on the CT/MA border, New York State casinos, and Wynn in Boston taking away VIP’s from all of New England’s casinos, one has to see the importance of a MGM property in Bridgeport – not for the betterment of CT residents, but especially for a worried MGM in their northeast expansion.

Speaking of Traffic…

Raise your hands out there if you have driven I-95 from New Haven to the New York State line, vice versa.  C’mon, raise ’em up.

That’s right – it’s horrible.  For commuters, it’s not just driving to work – it’s a non-contact (or sometimes contact) sport. Well guess how that traffic will be if a casino is built in Bridgeport.  Traffic concerns will be exponentially worse – not even considering the 40-mile parking lot it will become on the weekends. MGM has offered no financial help for the already inadequate infrastructure of I-95.  An example of what to look forward to is MGM’s beautiful MGM National Harbor around Washing D.C. When it opened, vehicular traffic to the doubled from 90,000 cars, buses and trucks a week to an astounding 180,000, according to Courtland Milloy of the Washington Post. “The casino has a pretty slick traffic plan once you get on the property, but off-site, it’s nothing more than a nightmare,” so his article says. Expect the same on I-95.

The Cart Before the Horse

There’s one little thing in the way of this proposal.  Right now it would be illegal to build a casino – and heartless to build the hopes of the people of Bridgeport. James Murren said the casino “can help to turn the economic tide of this state [CT]”  The plan requires a change in state law that limits the right to build casinos to the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, owners of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.  CT Governor Dannel Malloy said “if the state violates the compact with the tribes, it could lose nearly $500 million over the next two years in revenue from the tribes’ two casinos.” The state gets 25 percent of the slot machine revenue from Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun under the compact.  It’s difficult to have to decide between the future economic well-fare of Bridgeport, and the future economic revenue for Connecticut, which Bridgeport would receive benefits from.

MGM, the Casino Industry Powerhouse

Finally, let’s not forget MGM International is a business – a very good business.  Jim Murren has built MGM to a giant in the casino and entertainment industry. It’s power and financial backing is not to be taken lightly.  It’s very difficult to not have a love-hate relationship with MGM International. Here’s how I see it:

  • They offer some of the greatest Hotels & Casinos in America. (Love it)
  • They single-handedly started the demise of the tradition free parking on the Las Vegas Parking (Hate it)
  • They offer some of the best entertainment venues in the country (Love it)
  • Their lack of concern for gambling rules and limits makes it difficult for low to mid rollers (Hate it)
  • They will help the city of Springfield rise from it’s ashes, with the watchful eye of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (Love it)
  • They have said it themselves – MGM is an entertainment company, not a casino company. This does not bode well for cities like Bridgeport looking to raise revenue (Hate it)
  • MGM does create jobs with their casino/resorts.(Love it)
  • MGM seems to be a bully when pushing for casinos in states by excessive lobbying, negative television, mail propaganda, and time consuming tactics to get what they want, not necessarily what’s good for those involved. (Hate it)
  • MGM seems intent on keeping Borgata in Atlantic City the same, as the #1 AC property.(Love it)
  • MGM Supported anti-casino expansion groups in CT over the proposed 3rd casino in East Windsor, only now, having to face them  supporting casino expansion in CT. (Hate it)

The Final Draw

It is still illegal.  Massive changes and considerations are involved. MGM wants you to think it’s the only answer.  The fact is their answer is a stalling tactic on the never-ending suit with the state of CT – rejected by the courts twice already.

Once upon a time, owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, was close to moving the Patriots to Hartford.  It was a scam to get more out of Massachusetts interests to build Gillette Stadium and keep them there.  There are still many that hold a grudge for using CT residents as pawns in his own scheme.

Mr. Murren, please don’t do the same to Connecticut.  People will remember, and MGM Springfield may end up getting the brunt of the Nutmeg State’s ire and resentment.

Binbin

 

 

 

Three Suggestions to Slot Machine Players

Have you wondered why it seems harder to win at your favorite casino?

We all know that table games are in a state of flux, with lower payouts and more side bets – all increasing the house edge.  We’ve seen blackjack payouts diminished quickly within the last two years with the advent of 6:5 payouts instead of the traditional 3:2.  We’ve seen lower times odds in craps. More “carnival” table games continue to be added to the casino floor like 3 & 4-card poker, Let it Ride, and BlackJack Switch – all table games with high infrequent payouts, volatile side bets, and a much higher increase to the casino’s edge as compared to traditional games like baccarat & blackjack.

Let’s face it, U.S. casinos are making it tougher for players to win at the slot machines as well.  The portion of slot wagers kept by casinos rose to 7.7 percent last year from 7.25 percent in 2007, the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers reported. So, it’s no surprise that the total amount bet on the machines fell to $291 billion from a peak of $355 billion over that span. “Slots have been tightening slowly over time,” Marcus Prater, executive director of the association, said in an interview. “There is a theory out there that when people have a bad experience, they’re not as likely to come back.”

STOP THE PRESSES! NOW THAT’S NEWS!!!images (3)

Listen, casino management still doesn’t get it.  The fact is that people will show up if they feel they have a chance, some hope, of playing a while – or even winning.

I understand that the most entertaining slots may be the ones that also don’t pay well.  If you are willing to play them with that understanding, then, go for it. But if you want a better chance to win and a better chance to play longer on video slots, here’s three tips to helping you.

DISCLAIMER: The following information is not going to tell you how to win at slots.  Nobody can tell you that. If someone tells you they are a professional slots player, or that they have a sure way to win at slot machines, RUN – RUN FAR. The Random Number Generator (RNG) is made to pay a certain percentage for the casino’s win over the long term.  No one knows what machine pays what percentage, except the company that sold it and the casino who bought or leased it. So, the following are just suggestions to consider, THAT’S ALL. 

To understand the Random Number Generator, try reading these previous posts:

RNG in the New Year with Slot Misconceptions

Understanding The Random Number Generator (RNG)

Big Bang Theory Slot Machine

Big Bang Theory Slot Machine

Suggestion #1 – Be wary of the “Celebrity” or “Themed” slot machines.  These games are referred to as “participation games.”  When a casino installs a participation game, they do not buy the machine.  The machine remains the property of the manufacturer, and the casino and manufacturer share in the revenue that the game produces. However, a fee to license that brand – for example, Ellen DeGeneres, Michael Jackson, Big Bang theory, Batman – which is all figured into the revenue share.  So, because of licensing fees, leasing fees, and revenue share, expect the payout percentage to be lower than a traditional slot.  Just enjoy it for the entertainment it is, and if you win, so much the better.

Suggestion #2 – Know your progressive.  Many slot machines include progressive wins – but not all progressives are alike.  Be knowledgeable of the differences.

  1. “Pay for Play” Progressive – these progressives usually are only eligible for the taking when playing Max Bet.
    Quick Hit Slot Machine with progressives listed.

    Quick Hit Slot Machine with progressives listed.

    A good example is Quick Hit machines.  If you don’t play max on these machines you are not eligible for the progressives, which can get hefty, thus diminishing your total payout percentage – whatever that may be.  The progressive is figured into the total payout percentage.  Play without Max Bet, and you’re throwing away more money to the house.  Always check what denomination and how much Max Bet is before playing.  “Quick Hit machines can range on a penny machine from $1.50 to to $4.00.

  2. “Pay Within” Progressive – these payout on any bet, anytime withing a certain amount accrued.
    Ainsworth Rumble Rumble Progressive Slot Machine

    Ainsworth Rumble Rumble Progressive Slot Machine

    For example, Konami slots often have 2-4 different progressives, that will pay between $25 – $50 (a mini progressive) at any given time. Keep in mind that the increase of the progressive is incredibly small. One Las Vegas trip I played a fun slot called Rumble, Rumble “SweetZone” by Ainsworth at Cosmopolitan.  At $1 a play, my wife and I figured out $5 in made the progressive meter increase one cent – $5 increased ONE CENT!  So, be careful – seeing a progressive like this close to its payout could still mean a lot of playing (and money) ahead.

  3. “Mega-Progressive” – these are those that are connected to a few others, or even regionally like MEGABUCKS.
    Megabucks Progressive Slots

    Megabucks Progressive Slots

    Keep in mind that to payoff such a large progressive, the payout percentage that you hear sucking the money out of your bankroll will be low.  It has to be to be able to payoff the winner of such a high payoff.  These usually require a high Max Bet.

Suggestion #3 – The less Bells and whistles, the higher the payout.  Again, not necessarily, you don’t really know, you can’t tell, yaddy yadda yadda.  But if the casino doesn’t have to pay other interests such as progressives, themes, lease agreements, additional set up, special lighting, etc, it might encourage your bankroll to last longer.

Mr. Cashman Slot Machine

Mr. Cashman Slot Machine

Sometimes, an old Cashman slot by Aristocrat is just as fun.  My favorite – “Betting Zoo.”

Now, go out there and hit a jackpot.

Binbin

Penn Gaming Raising the Social Media Bar in New England Casinos

2 Casinos in New England

2 Casinos in New England – Bangor, Maine & Plainville, Massachusetts

Penn National Gaming, who owns Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway in Plainville, Massachusetts & Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, Maine are ramping up its image with increased and improved promotions.  The promotions are many and interesting.  Hollywood alone shows more media connections by offering patrons daily emails of news and promos.

Hollywood Casino, Maine

Hollywood Casino, Maine

Before the Massachusetts expansion, Hollywood’s Bangor Casino seemed to be riding the tide of being the only hotel/casino in the area, with Twin River Casino in Rhode Island the closest competitor. But with competition from Oxford Casino in Oxford, Maine and Massachusetts, things needed to get serious.  Hollywood’s website and media effort seemed almost like an afterthought – until the last few months.th

Now, Penn Gaming is raising the bar in entertainment, dining, and gambling promotions to get you – yes YOU – in the door.

Penn National Gaming, through its subsidiaries, owns, operates or has ownership interests in gaming and racing facilities with a focus on slot machine entertainment. The Company presently operates twenty-six facilities in seventeen jurisdictions, including Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Ontario.

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts

The company traces its roots to Penn National Race Course, which opened in 1972. As recent as April 2015, the company agreed to purchase the Tropicana for $360 million to gets it’s first pretense on the Las Vegas Strip.

Plainridge has shown success beyond the Bay State’s dreams.  It’s location, newness, and continued push through social media continues to impress – not resting on its summer laurels.  And now, Penn it starting the same social media barrage in Maine – a very needed addition to raise Hollywood in Bangor out of its roller coaster revenue ride.

If you check out the two casino websites, you will find expanded promotions schedules, racing schedules, login ability to check your Marquee Rewards, and more. Entertainment schedules are still included, with many different options through out the week, especially in Plainville.

Hollywood Casino Hotel in Bangor, Maine

Hollywood Casino Hotel in Bangor, Maine

So, click on the side bar links and get to know Penn’s two casinos – the only two casinos in New England linked by the same rewards club!  mrrewards-927x282And take a weekend this autumn to drive to Hollywood if you live in southern New England.  The hotel is nice, Bangor is a great little town, the foliage should be awesome (don’t wait too long) and check out the Casino.

That’s all for now.

Binbin