Tribes formalize partnership for another casino in Connecticut

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler, left, and Mohegan Tribe Chairman Kevin Brown. Photo from CT Jobs Matter

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe officially cemented a historic partnership to open a third casino in Connecticut.

The tribes have operated separate casinos on their respective reservations just a few miles apart. But they are coming together to address competition from neighboring Massachusetts, where MGM Resorts International plans to open $800 million casino in downtown Springfield, just a few miles from the border.

"We will always be competitors," Pequot Chairman Rodney Butler said at a signing ceremony on Thursday, The Hartford Courant reported. "But it is here, now, that we are coming together to combat an outside threat for the greater good of the state we call home."

Senate Bill 1090 starts the process for communities to submit proposals a jointly operated casino. Once the tribes -- through a new entity called MM4CT -- choose a project, they will return to the Connecticut Legislature to seek formal approval, ideally sometime next year.

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

"We have to come back to these halls to get final approval and that is driven by the legislative calendar and, so, by the turn of the year, we have to come to grips with who the best candidate would be," Mohegan Chairman Kevin Brown said, the Courant reported.

If the tribes stick to their schedule, it's possible they could open a casino by the end of 2016 or in early 2017. That means they could beat MGM to the market -- the facility in Springfield won't debut until September 2018 at the earliest due to delays associated with a highway project.

MGM is suing the state of Connecticut for moving forward with the casino selection process. The company argues that Senate Bill 1090 violates the U.S. Constitution because it only allows the two tribes to solicit bids for the new facility.

Get the Story:
Tribes Set Tight Schedule For New Casino As They Sign 'Historic' Pact (The Hartford Courant 9/11)
Tribes sign agreement to pursue 3rd Connecticut casino (The Norwich Bulletin 9/11)
Tribal ‘conflict and competition’ turn into casino cooperation (Westfair Communications 9/11)
Tribes formalize joint venture to pursue northern Connecticut casino (The New London Day 9/11)
CT casinos finalize gaming expansion partnership (Hartford Business Journal 9/11)
Springfield Mayor Not Worried About Potential Casino Competition (WNPR 9/11)
Connecticut Tribes Sign Partnership For Jointly Run casino (TV Newsroom 9/11)
Pearce selected for Connecticut tribes’ joint casino venture (The New Haven Register 9/11)
Tribes look to open third casino in Connecticut (The Bulletin Leader 9/11)
Pequots, Mohegans, sign deal to create a cooperative casino (The Connecticut Post 9/10)
Tribes Forge Partnership to Protect Against Outside Interests (CT News Junkie 9/10)
Foxwoods & Mohegan join forces to build another casino in CT (WWLP 9/10)
Connecticut Indian tribes in formalizing partnership: Jobs 'under attack' by new Massachusetts casinos (MassLive 9/10)

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