Tribes in Connecticut delay decision on host for potential casino

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

A site for a potential new casino in Connecticut remains on hold as the state fends off a lawsuit from a non-Indian developer.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe initially set an aggressive schedule for their proposed facility. After putting out a request for bids last October, they planned to select a host by December 15, 2015, but a decision has been delayed indefinitely so the affected communities can hold public hearings, referendums or both, The Hartford Courant reported.

Meanwhile, the state is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by MGM Resorts International, the developer of a rival commercial casino in neighboring Massachusetts. The company claims the law that authorized the tribes to move forward with the bidding process is unconstitutional because no one else can participate.

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

The state, however, points out that the Special Act 15-7, also known as Senate Bill 1090, does not actually authorize the casino. The Connecticut Legislature would need to approve the new facility once the tribes select a host community.

Despite the delay and the litigation, the tribes believe they can beat MGM to the market. The firm is spending $950 million on a casino in downtown Springfield, just a few miles from the state line, but it's not expected to open until September 2018 at the earliest.

The tribes received five proposals from four communities in a region near the state border.

Get the Story:
Jepsen Urges Dismissal Of MGM Casino Lawsuit (The Hartford Courant 1/5)
AG backs Connecticut tribes’ commercial casino (Calvin Ayre 1/5)

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