Tribal leaders of The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe (MMCT) in Connecticut are fighting to follow through on plans to construct a casino and resort property north of Hartford, CT. However, MGM has a $950 million resort property just across the state line and is pressing tribe officials to provide analysis that proves their selected location is the best fit for the property.
Casino giant MGM claims the development comes as an effort to intercept traffic from Springfield’s near $1 billion resort. The tribal ventures group reportedly rejected three proposed sites for their project and MGM is demanding to know why. MGM Vice President Alan Feldman contributed, “MMCT has indicated that the economic analysis was pivotal in their decision-making, and officials at the state and local levels, have a right to see the study first-hand…communities should not be negotiating in the dark, and the public should not be kept in the dark.”
MGM Counters at State and Federal Levels
MGM conducted a counter analysis, per Feldman and reportedly found that southwest Connecticut, was in fact, the optimal location for such a proposed project. The location cited in the report is also about as far as the property could possibly be from the current location of MGM Springfield.
MGM feels they have case in approaching the Connecticut government to put a stop to construction as the casino is tribal-run, but not located on tribal land. The gaming giant’s filing against the state of Connecticut it was an unfair practice of not giving MGM a bid for a share in the Connecticut gaming market, “MGM is ready, willing, and able to compete for the opportunity to develop a commercial casino gaming facility in Connecticut, but is excluded by the act from competing for this opportunity.”
The filing was immediately met with sharp criticism from the state, which brought to light the fact that MGM is ineligible for construction at the proposed site as a result of its Springfield property agreement. According to the Mass. contract, MGM is prohibited from constructing another gaming facility within a 50mi radius of Springfield.
Further to expand on what have been construed as bullying tactics, MGM last year filed for an amendment to a federal defense bill that would bar tribes in any state from opening casinos outside of tribal lands. The amendment was written by two Nevada senators and eventually was struck down in the senate.
The MMCT has been very vocal about the blow to Connecticut’s economy should the project proposal be denied and Massachusetts Casino ventures continue to claim the bulk of revenue from CT players. An estimated $702 million, $100 million in state tax revenue, and as many as 9,300 jobs are at risk should plans for operations be denied to tribes.
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