MGM Resorts doesn’t want the two Connecticut Indian Tribes to build a third casino in the state and they are suing the federal government to keep it from happening.
The casino giant filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the U.S. Department of Interior for granting Connecticut’s two tribes approval to build a third casino in East Windsor, just outside of Hartford, and 13 miles south of MGM’s latest casino in Springfield, Mass.
Last March, the DOI approved plans for a joint venture between the Mashantucket Pequot tribe and the Mohegan tribe to build Tribal Winds Casino in East Windsor. Just a couple weeks ago, lawmakers in the state drafted legislation that would allow the two tribes to build a casino in Bridgeport, a city in which MGM had interest in building a casino of their own.
Regardless of which city they try to break ground in, MGM is going to use legal channels to stop it from happening.
According to the Middletown Press, MGM decided to file their lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. instead of making it a constitutional case in the state of Connecticut. The company is arguing that the DOI made an error in the way it approved changes to the pacts between Connecticut and its tribes.
Attorneys for MGM claim that the DOI ‘was only authorized to approve amendments related to casinos on tribal lands or on parcels that are considered in a “land-in-trust,” per the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The land in East Windsor and in Bridgeport do not fit those requirements.
“The amendments thus confer a statewide, perpetual competitive advantage to the joint venture, MMCT,” The MGM lawsuit states. MMCT is the company name of the tribes’ joint venture.
The proposed legislation that would allow a Bridgeport casino would also allow the tribes to operate sports betting both online and in-person, a market that MGM would certainly like to have access to.
The DOI issued a statement saying that it will not comment on the lawsuit while it is ongoing.
Regardless of the outcome, the lawsuit will likely leave Connecticut as a two-casino state for the foreseeable future as this is likely going to take years to play out in the courtroom.