Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) at the winter session of the National Congress of American Indians. February 28, 2006. Washington, DC
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona). Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Sen. McCain doesn't seem to know where New York City is located

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) is joining the battle over a new casino in Connecticut but a letter he sent to the Trump administration is marred by alternative facts.

McCain claims the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe are trying to open a casino “just a few miles from New York City,” according to news accounts about the letter The tribe are indeed pursuing a new gaming facility but their chosen location is East Windsor, more than 130 miles from the Big Apple.

McCain also told Secretary Ryan Zinke, the new leader of the Department of the Interior, that the tribes are trying to open an “off-reservation” facility. That is not the case, either -- they are pursuing the casino outside of the framework of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Despite the substantive flaws, McCain's letter is still being used as ammunition in the fight against the tribal venture. According to the Connecticut media, MGM Resorts International, a non-Indian firm that opposes the new development, has been circulating the document.

The New England Casino Race: Tribal and commercial gaming facilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island

MGM, however, isn't saying outright whether it asked McCain for help. And McCain's office didn't respond directly when asked by The Connecticut Mirror about the origins of the letter.

“Nobody’s telling McCain what to do. He wrote IGRA,” an MGM executive told The Mirror. McCain, when he served in the U.S. House, introduced the bill that later became IGRA.

MGM is trying to derail the tribes because the company is opening a $950 million commercial casino in Springfield, Massachusetts. To use McCain's words, the site is “just a few miles” from the Connecticut border.

Read More on the Story:
MGM uses McCain letter to fight Connecticut tribal casino (The Connecticut Mirror 5/10)
MGM Circulates McCain Letter In Casino Battle (The Hartford Courant 5/10)
McCain letter prompts sharp response from tribes' MMCT spokesman (The New London Day 5/10)
Malloy confidants spar over competing casino projects (The Connecticut Post 5/11)

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