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MGM’s Lawsuit Against Connecticut over New Joint Tribal Casino Dismissed

- June 27, 2016 By Oliver Young -

Court ruled in favour of the state

Two Connecticut tribes will be allowed to continue their endeavour and establish a casino near the border with Massachusetts

MGM were allowed to open a casino in Massachusetts back in 2014, but now they feel that their business interest is threatened by the decision of the authorities of Connecticut to allow the establishment of a new tribal casino near the state border between Massachusetts and Connecticut.

MGM filed a lawsuit against the state of Connecticut because they felt that the decision to allow the establishment of a new tribal casino was unconstitutional. The fact that MGM are opposing this decision is not surprising, since we know that the company is building a $950 million casino in Springfield, Massachusetts.

 

The Judge Has Dismissed MGM’s Claims that the Law Favours the Tribes

MGM has already started building their massive resort when the company decided to file a lawsuit against Connecticut. The law that allowed the two tribes – the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan to open a casino venue in the state was disputed by MGM. The company’s legal representatives claimed that the new law is putting the tribes in a favourable position and is discriminatory towards the company.

Connecticut’s representatives claimed that MGM is not harmed with their decision and the company has no legal right to sue the state. MGM claimed that the law would prevent them from seeking a location for a casino establishment in the country. However, this claim was disputed as the law only states that the two legally recognised tribes of Connecticut can start looking for a location for their joint venture, whereas it doesn’t state that third parties would be prohibited of doing so.

The federal judge in charge of the case, Alvin Thompson, ruled in favour of the state, claiming that the law doesn’t favour the two tribes and that the supposed disadvantage is too abstract and thus cannot be proved in a court of law. MGM have appealed the decision and the case will be taken in front of the US Court of Appeals.

 

MGM Will Try to Win the Battle in Congress, but It Probably Won’t Happen

MGM have taken another action in their attempt to stop Connecticut’s tribes from opening a casino near the Massachusetts border. Namely, it has been announced that the company has been lobbying for an amendment that will prevent tribes that operate casinos in reservations in a certain state from opening commercial casinos in that state.

It is speculated that this amendment is supported by two Nevada senators – Harry Reid and Dean Heller. The proposed amendment will not only prevent the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan from opening a casino, but it will also limit the possibilities for all other Indian tribes. It has been argued that by allowing tribes to operate casinos located outside of the reservations is not in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The head of the Indian Gaming Association said that there’s no legal basis for MGM’s proposition.

A spokesperson for the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan claimed that MGM are ready to spend massive amounts of money in order to get what they want – to stop the tribes from opening a competing casino. It is not very likely that the amendment will go though, though.

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