The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes have been granted permission for a joint casino project in East Windsor, Connecticut much to the dismay of MGM Resorts International. The casino giant is worried of losing gamblers who may possibly have hit the MGM Springfield across the border in Massachusetts, a casino already struggling due to Encore Boston Harbor’s launch. Their attempts at blocking the project are being futile regardless of their reasons, as the company has no real legal case to rely on. It still continues with its fight; however, the battle may soon end with no victory for MGM.
As mentioned in the Calvinayre.com website, MGM has opposed the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) in its decision to approve the new casino, which is just around 15 miles away from MGM Springfield. It claimed that the decision was not based on established legal precedent relating to contracts between the tribes and Connecticut in hopes of getting the courts to take its side. It essentially reasoned that the DOI couldn’t reconsider any contract amendments as the time for doing so had expired.
Lawyers for the DOI emphasize that the agency was fully within its right to authorize the project. It retorted to MGM’s position and presented its brief to Judge Rudolph Contreras who is involved with the case, and stated, “The Amendments merely clarify that if a state law-authorized commercial gaming facility wholly-owned by Mohegan and Pequot (tribes)… commences operations, it will not violate the exclusive tribal gaming arrangement set forth in the Tribes’ respective MOUs [memorandum of understanding] with the State.”
They want the case dismissed and added, in response to the assertion that the period for reconsideration of the contracts had expired, “Because there is no statutory or regulatory limitation on [the DOI’s] ability to reconsider the Pequot Amendments, [the DOI] properly used its inherent authority to approve such Amendments, despite Plaintiffs’ contrary assertions.”
Currently, Connecticut has two casinos – one operated by each of the tribes. MGM wanted to set up a third in the state, which would have been situated in Bridgeport, but the approval of the tribes’ venue has foiled those plans. As the soon-to-be-previous owner of the Bellagio continues to sell off its properties to improve its finances, starting a new project appears to be counterproductive.