Fresh off an economic analysis claim that a commercial casino in Bridgeport “would generate $545 million more in total economic output for the State than a commercial casino in North Central Connecticu,t” deep-pocketed MGM resorts that is building a casino in Springfield, Mass is financing a federal lawsuit that the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation filed against the state claiming a legislative act to pursue a new tribal-based casino in the Hartford area is unconstitutional because it did not include competitive bidding.
A casino legal war is underway between MGM and a joint effort by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Indian tribal nations to protect the respective Hartford area market share from the one MGM is building in Springfield. MGM claims “there’s a better deal for Connecticut” in the Bridgeport area. See the economic spin from Connecticut’s two tribal casinos here.
The state has a gaming compact with Connecticut’s two recognized casinos that provides 25 percent of the slot take in exchange for a monopoly. The two tribal nations have joined together, through a legislative act, to find a suitable location for a new casino on non-tribal land to blunt the MGM facility in Springfield from poaching the market share in the Hartford area.
Richard Velky, chief of the Kent, CT-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation that has been thwarted from efforts to receive federal recognition leading to a Connecticut casino, declares “Without any competitive bidding or gaming study, Connecticut shut out the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and awarded to one pair of Native American tribes the exclusive ability to develop a highly valuable commercial enterprise. Under the Equal Protection clauses of the federal and state Constitutions, the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation should have the same right to pursue this economic opportunity as anyone else.”
Velky says that in January STN filed with the Secretary of the State’s Office articles of organization for its newly formed entity, Confluence of Rivers Tribal Business Entity LLC, to pursue the economic rights created under the Special Act. The Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Office rejected that application, asserting its “ineligible to register a tribal business entity under the Act” and thus unable “to receive a grant of legal authority under Special Act 15-7.”
“The State has a long history of discriminating against the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation,” said Velky in a news release. “Recently, the State fought our federal recognition, supposedly because they didn’t want another casino in Connecticut. Now Connecticut wants to open a new casino, but only if the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation doesn’t get an opportunity to submit a proposal to operate it. The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation seeks equal treatment, which does not exist under Special Act 15-7.”
Velky also announced that STN has joined forces with MGM, to pursue both parties’ mutual interests in fighting the Act.