The State House early Wednesday morning approved the state’s first commercial casino in East Windsor that will be operated by Connecticut’s two tribal nations on non-tribal land to counter a nearly $1 billion gaming facility under construction by MGM in Springfield, Massachusetts. For the Mashantucket and Mohegan nations, their gaming monopoly continues. MGM says the no-bid casino is illegal and will press its case in federal court.
From Mark Pazniokas, CT Mirror:
The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations crossed the finish line Wednesday on the last day of the General Assembly’s annual session, victors in a two-year struggle for authorization to jointly develop a casino to compete with an MGM Resorts International casino under construction in Springfield.
The House vote of 103 to 46 was surprisingly lopsided, exceeding the 2-1 margin last month in the Senate. A companion bill that helps the parimutuel industry by expanding the number of available off-track betting licenses from 18 to 24, passed on a closer vote of 77 to 72. It was drafted to attract some Democratic votes.
With Gov. Dannel P. Malloy set to the sign the bill, MGM says its battle to keep a competitor off its doorstep now will shift to U.S. District Court, where the Las Vegas gaming giant will argue the legislature violated the Equal Protection and Commerce clauses of the Constitution by refusing to consider other suitors for the state’s first commercial gaming license.
Full story here.
Statement from Uri Clinton, senior vice president and legal counsel, MGM Resorts International:
“It appears that the Legislature is intent on approving a no-bid casino in East Windsor. As such the State of Connecticut missed an enormous opportunity to put in place an open, transparent, and competitive casino process which could have resulted in as much as $1 billion in economic development, the creation of thousands of jobs, and a licensing fee paid to the state of up to $100 million. What Connecticut got instead was far less than that.
We will continue to vigorously advocate in the courts as we seek to protect the constitutional rights of any company hoping to do business in Connecticut.
And that, ultimately, is what our goal has always been: we’d like the chance to compete to do business in Connecticut.”