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Rachael Price August 9, 2019 4 min read
MGM Resorts Files Lawsuit Against Connecticut Tribes
- MGM Resorts challenges MMCT claim in Bridgeport
- The Las Vegas companies will seek to discontinue the tribal casino project
- Tribes prepared to go to court, cautioning about MGM being an out-of-state company
MGM Resorts files lawsuit to challenge tribal claim in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The casino industry and job opportunities in the state may suffer as a result.
MGM Resorts Files Lawsuit Against East Windsor
MGM Resorts International is launching litigation against the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes over the East Windsor casino project. The company has already filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Columbia, targeting the U.S. Department of Interior.
In the lawsuit, MGM Resorts seeks to void a decision by the Department which allows the tribes’ joint venture, MMCT, to be built and operate on land that is not owned by the tribes under exclusive heritage.
Commenting on these developments, MGM’s official statement focused on the competitiveness of the deal as well as the value that Connecticut people were getting:
“These decisions also stand in the way of an open, competitive process that MGM believes would result in a better deal for the people of Connecticut.”
Furthermore, MGM argued that by not having the tribes granted exclusive rights for a new property, the state could benefit from an open process for call for proposals and choose the project with the most economic and employment benefits.
The U.S. Department in the Wrong, Says MGM
MGM specified that the Department had been wrong to allow MMCT to build in Bridgeport, a place that has long been on the visor of MGM, an established public fact.
The casino operator reiterated its previous statement that by allowing the tribes to build outright, the Department had in fact stripped the state from the opportunity to decide about what is the most economically feasible project for it.
Furthermore, Connecticut would suffer as MMCT is not expected to do any of the following:
- Maximize job creation
- Bring investment
- Open ways for new revenues
MGM hasn’t been alone in the fight. Gov. Ned Lamont offered the tribes to smoke a piece offering by letting them operate in the sports betting market if they agreed to give up on their East Windsor claim, but Mr. Lamont had been met with silent refusal.
All Cogwheels Already in Motion
The refusal came on the basis that the tribes had already put $20 million out of the $300 expected to go down for Windsor, or Tribal Wind as the project is known. Responding to the lawsuit, Mr. Lamont issued an official statement, which stated that it was the one development he had sought to avoid:
“As I have consistently said, our state needs to reach a global gaming resolution that will avoid years and years of complex litigation,”
Mr. Lamont explained that Connecticut’s gaming industry was a cherished state asset and endangering it wouldn’t be possible. Plus, the state’s administration remained committed to protecting the industry insofar as honest competition went.
MMCT responded to the lawsuit by releasing a statement through spokesperson Andrew Doba who said that the move undertaken by MGM was foolhardy to say the least. With this said, Mr. Doba adopted a popular trope, calling D.C. a swamp and reminding MGM what had happened last time when they tried litigation, which led to investigation and multiple resignations.
Mr. Doba further explained that the tribes won’t let a Las Vegas company that “generates not one dime for the state push us around”. He then noted that the tribes were paying $8 million in tax and employed 18,000 people.
Meanwhile Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim expressed regret that while CT was on the cusp of welcoming new jobs, this prospect was now dimmed by the pending legislation.