The governor of Connecticut has reportedly sent a letter to the eastern state’s attorney general asking him to weigh in on the risks of passing proposed legislation that would allow MMCT Venture to begin construction of a tribal casino in the town of East Windsor.
Tuesday saw MMCT Venture, which is an enterprise of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, announce that it wants to build a Connecticut casino on a plot of land once home to a Showcase Cinemas franchise and adjacent to Interstate-91.
However, this location is only around 13 miles from Massachusetts’ MGM Springfield development from MGM Resorts International and the American casino giant has reportedly already filed a lawsuit claiming that its rights will be violated if MMCT Venture is allowed to open its casino without being subject to competitive bidding from other operators for its license. The Las Vegas-based operator has long expressed an interest in building a gambling establishment in south-western Connecticut, which currently hosts only two casinos, and contends that the state should allow other firms to vie for a license.
The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority operates the giant Mohegan Sun casino in south-eastern Connecticut while the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is responsible for the nearby Foxwoods Resort Casino and both reportedly previously stated that their Hartford County venture would serve as a defensive measure against the competitive threat posed by the coming $950 million MGM Springfield, which is expected to open in 2019.
According to a report from the Associated Press news service, Democratic governor Dannel Malloy has asked Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen for his advice on the state’s chances of winning any lawsuit brought by MGM Resorts International concerning the East Windsor casino. He is allegedly moreover seeking guidance on the potential impacts that allowing other operators in could have on the state’s slot revenue-sharing agreements with the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
The news service reported that Connecticut receives 25% of all slot revenues generated at the Mohegan Sun and the Foxwoods Resort Casino in exchange for ensuring that the tribes retain the exclusive rights to offer casino gambling in the state. MMCT Venture first announced plans to open a jointly-operated facility to compete with the MGM Springfield venue in 2015 and Jepsen allegedly expressed concerns at the time that the proposed enabling legislation for the East Windsor project could face constitutional challenges and put the revenue-sharing agreements at risk.