In hopes of expediting their plan to bring a Class III satellite casino to the small community of East Windsor, last week reportedly saw the administration of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy join with the state’s Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation to file a lawsuit against the United States Department of the Interior.
According to a Wednesday report from the Connecticut Post newspaper, the proposed casino received its final state approvals in late-July but cannot begin operations until the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs subordinate signs off on changes that were made to the tribes’ existing gambling compacts as part of the local licensing process.
However, over four months have now elapsed with no action from federal authorities and the newspaper reported that the lawsuit is seeking to have this silence declared as implied approval with this decision subsequently published in the Federal Register.
The Mohegan Tribe is responsible via its Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment vehicle for the Mohegan Sun in southeastern Connecticut while the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation runs the nearby Foxwoods Resort Casino. They both hand over 25% of their current slot revenues to the state and the revised gaming compacts would see this arrangement extended to encompass the planned East Windsor casino, which is to be built and operated by the tribes’ MMCT Venture joint business enterprise.
“The state of Connecticut over the years has maintained a long-standing partnership and compact with the Mohegan [Tribe] and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and they employ thousands of Connecticut residents at their casinos,” reportedly read a statement from Malloy. “State law requires that these compact amendments are in fact approved. That’s why I have asked the attorney general to file this action. We need clarity and certainty with respect to this issue.”
The Connecticut Post reported that the planned East Windsor casino, which has been provisionally named the Mohegan Sun Foxwoods East Windsor, has been designed to serve as a bulwark against the coming $950 million MGM Springfield casino being built by MGM Resorts International in neighboring Massachusetts and help Connecticut and the two tribes safeguard future gaming revenues.
For its part, Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International has reportedly long been an opponent of the East Windsor scheme and unveiled a proposal of its own in September that would see it spend upwards of $675 million in order to bring a rival casino to Connecticut’s largest city, Bridgeport.
Uri Clinton, Senior Vice-President for MGM Resorts International, purportedly told the newspaper that the United States Department of the Interior’s silence regarding the East Windsor venture did not mean that the project had been ‘deemed approved’ and that ‘no lawsuit, not even one backed by the Governor’ would change these ‘basic facts’.
“We stand by the Bridgeport project and our analysis of where we are in the casino discussion in Connecticut,” Clinton reportedly told the Connecticut Post.