Connecticut sued over law that paves way for new tribal casino

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) speaks at the opening of the new Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods in May. Photo from Facebook

A law that paves the way for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe to open one more casino in Connecticut is facing a legal challenge.

MGM Resorts International is sued Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) and other top officials, arguing that the new law is unconstitutional. No other parties, except for the two tribes, are able to solicit bids for the new casino.

"MGM is ready, willing, and able to compete for the opportunity to develop a commercial casino gaming facility in Connecticut, but is excluded by the act from competing for this opportunity," the complaint, which was filed in federal court in Connecticut, states.

Senate Bill 1090, which Malloy signed into law in June, does not actually authorize the casino. The tribes must return to the Legislature with a proposal and seek approval for it.

The New England Casino Race: Tribal and commercial gaming facilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island

The two-step process appears to be unusual. But it was written in that manner because the tribes retain exclusive rights to offer Class III games.

"We are not at all surprised by MGM's actions today and frankly suspect we will see more tactics just like this in their effort to stop Connecticut's leaders from protecting Connecticut jobs and revenue," Mohegan Chairman Kevin Brown and Mashantucket Chairman Rodney Butler said in a statement. "MGM has made clear from the beginning that their entire project is based upon a single foundation: exporting Connecticut's revenues and jobs to Massachusetts. Our tribes feel an obligation to stand alongside Connecticut's leaders and fight for our state."

The tribes are looking at sites near the Massachusetts border. MGM broke ground on an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield, just a few miles from the state line.

The tribes say they will be forced to cut thousands of jobs and the state will lose out on revenues unless they react to the competition.

Get the Story:
MGM Challenges Law Giving Tribes Exclusive Rights To Casino (The Hartford Courant 8/5)
Casino giant sues state (AP 8/5)
MGM challenges Connecticut law clearing way for third Indian casino (Reuters 8/5)
MGM Resorts International suing Connecticut officials over casino law (WWLP 8/5)
Inside MGM Resorts International's lawsuit against the new Connecticut gaming act (The Springfield Republican 8/5)
Casino operator MGM Resorts 2nd-quarter performance tops Wall Street’s estimates (Forex Report Daily 8/5)
MGM Resorts Sues Connecticut Governor Over Tribal Casino Act (Bloomberg Business 8/4)

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