State, local leaders talk deal with tribes to bring casino to Bridgeport

Posted: Updated:
BRIDGEPORT -

State and local leaders say they’re close to reaching a deal with Connecticut's two major Native American tribes that could finally bring gambling here to the Bridgeport waterfront.

State Rep. Chris Rosario says there could soon be an agreement with the tribes for them to bring gambling to Bridgeport, in the form of a smaller $350 million "boutique" casino. It’s an effort that he says, in the long run, is more likely to get lawmakers' approval.

“Things are happening fast, they're happening furious,” says Rosario. "It could come together tonight, it could come together Tuesday, or it could bleed out into a special session sometime this summer."

The tribes also have approval for a similar site in East Windsor, which officials say would also be part of this deal.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim says he's been part of the talks with the tribes and would welcome any plan regardless of its branding that would bring jobs to this city.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz says the dialogue came thanks to his efforts to bring Bridgeport and the tribes together because, according to Aresimowicz, it was obvious that MGM Bridgeport was never going to happen.

"I was not willing to give up on the idea, so I asked the participants to come back in and have a conversation, to see if we can get anything going,” says Aresimowicz.

However, Rosario warns the whole thing could come crashing down.

"By no means is there a deal that's imminent,” he says. “A lot of moving parts here."

In fact, Aresimowicz says the whole plan is a "hail mary" with long odds.

If this actually did happen, MGM would almost certainly sue -- potentially holding up construction for years.

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