Schaghticoke Tribal Nation questions exclusion from casino process

Schaghticoke Mountain on the Schaghticoke Reservation in Connecticut. Photo by Morrow Long via Flickr

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation is still trying to get into the casino game despite a rebuff from the state of Connecticut.

The Secretary of the State said the tribe can't pursue a potential third casino due to provisions in Special Act 15-7 that restrict the process to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe. Schaghticoke Chief Richard Velky called the exclusion illegal.

"The obvious result of denying or rescinding our registration as a 'tribal business entity' would be to prevent us from issuing a request for proposals to municipalities regarding the establishment of a possible casino gaming facility in a host community," Velky said in a statement quoted by The Hartford Courant. "We view this as an unconstitutional act on the part of the Secretary of the State's office."

MGM Resorts International, a non-Indian gaming company that's building a $950 million casino in neighboring Massachusetts, is making a similar argument in federal court. Velky didn't say whether his tribe will pursue litigation.

Special Act 15-7, which does not actually authorize a new casino, makes clear that the only "tribal business entity" that can be accepted by the state is the one formed by the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes. Section 1 reads:
"Tribal business entity" means the business entity registered with the Secretary of the State to do business in the state and owned exclusively by both the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut.

The Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes have received five proposals for the casino. Once they select a site, they will have to go back to the Connecticut Legislature to authorize the project.

Get the Story:
Schaghticokes Won't Back Down On Casino (The Hartford Courant 2/5)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation challenges Secretary of the State (The Danbury News-Times 2/5)
Selection of Casino Site On Track, Mohegans Say (The Hartford Courant 2/5)

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