The leaders of Connecticut’s Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes have unveiled the new name of their proposed East Windsor casino as Tribal Winds, even though the project remains in limbo due to a lack of federal approval.
The new venue would be the state’s first located on nontribal land. The tribes said the project would employ 2,000 construction workers during its creation and another 2,000 permanent employees once it is open, along with another 1,000 indirect jobs from small-business vendors.
The tribes planned to begin construction last fall. However, all work on the casino was halted because the U.S. Department of the Interior only accepted an amendment to Connecticut’s tribal gaming compact to allow the Mohegan tribe to proceed with the project. The department did not act on the amendment related to the Mashantucket Pequots, which forced the tribe and the state to take the Interior Department to court.
In October, Judge Rudolph Contreras of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia sided with the department by issuing a 58-page decision that ruled that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act did not require then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to accept revisions made to the gaming compact. Zinke resigned from his post in December, but the department has yet to move forward with its approval. A bill was introduced in the state legislature to allow Connecticut to enable changes in the tribal compacts without requiring the federal government’s input.
But even if the Interior Department reversed itself today, the tribes lack local permission to proceed. East Windsor First Selectman Robert Maynard reported that the tribes never submitted a building permit application to the town and the review process on the application would require at least 30 days.