The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that it will accept at least one of the two amendments to Connecticut’s tribal gaming compact needed for the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to move forward with their plan to jointly operate a third casino in East Windsor.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke “took no action on the amendment to the compact between the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut and the State of Connecticut within 45 days of its submission,” according to the DOI. “Therefore, the amendment is considered to have been approved, but only to the extent the amendment is consistent with IGRA,” referring to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
“We are pleased that the department is taking this step, and we expect similar action on the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal amendments in the very near future,” said Andrew Doba, spokesman for MMCT, the joint venture between the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans. “Our goal has never changed. We want to do right by Connecticut and to preserve the strong relationship between our tribal nations and the state.
“Today’s decision is the latest step in our overall goal to preserve thousands of good-paying jobs and millions in state tax revenue,” Doba continued.
The Mashantucket Pequots operate the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, while the Mohegans oversee Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.
The two tribes submitted their proposed amendments to the compact with the state to the DOI last July. In November, the state and the tribes sued the department in order to force a ruling.
Meanwhile, actual construction of a casino in East Windsor – which would compete with the $950 million casino and entertainment complex in Springfield, Massachusetts, that MGM Resorts International plans to open on Aug. 24 – still faces a number of hurdles, including various regulatory and financial issues.
MGM, which is also hoping to open a casino in Bridgeport’s Steelepointe Harbor, issued a statement questioning the DOI’s announcement and indicating that it would continue to fight against the East Windsor construction.
“We believe our proposed world-class entertainment complex in Bridgeport is the best option for creating new jobs and revenue, and we will vigorously advocate for our legal rights,” MGM said.