Artist's rendering of a proposed casino to be jointly operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe in East Windsor, Connecticut. Image: Teeton Architects / CT Jobs Matter

Connecticut tribes see support from Trump in push for new casino

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe are seeing some support from the Trump administration as they seek a new casino in Connecticut.

Although the tribes are pursuing the casino outside of the framework of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, they insist the project won't upset their existing revenue-sharing arrangements with the state. During the Obama administration, the Department of the Interior issued an advisory letter saying that it wont.

The Trump administration is now standing by the letter. While it's not a final decision of any sort, it helps address questions that have been raised by Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), non-Indian competitors and others.

"We confirm that the current administration supports the views in the technical letter," Jim Cason, the "acting" deputy secretary of the Interior, told the tribes on Friday, The Hartford Courant reported.

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

The tribes share 25 percent of slot machine revenues with the state in arrangements considered legal under IGRA. They are vowing to share additional revenues from a new facility if it is approved by the Connecticut Legislature.

Both tribes saw slot revenues decline after the onset of the national economic recession in 2007. Although revenues have slowly recovered, growing competition for gaming dollars in New England continues to affect their bottom line.

For the month of April 2017, for example, the Mohegans saw a 3.9 percent increase in slot revenues at the Mohegan Sun, when compared to a year prior. The Pequots, on the other hand, saw a 3 percent drop at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Both facilities are located in the southeastern part of the state.

The tribes see a new casino, to be located in the town of East Windsor, as a way to prevent additional revenue and job losses. Their project would be in direct competition with a $950 million commercial facility that's opening just across the state line in Springfield, Massachusetts. The two sites are only about 13 miles apart.

Read More on the Story:
Third Casino Would Not Impact Impact Revenue-Sharing Agreement Under Trump, Interior Department Says (The Hartford Courant 5/15)
Tribes get BIA letter helpful to their bid for a third casino (The Connecticut Mirror 5/15)
Interior Department affirms view of tribes' third-casino plan (The New London Day 5/15)
Slot revenues rise at Mohegan Sun, decline at Foxwoods (The Hartford Business Journal 5/15)
Casinos' April slots-revenue results mixed (The New London Day 5/15)
Mohegan tribe looks to partner with E. Windsor facility (The Hartford Business Journal 5/15)
Casino fund payments would be withheld as part of Malloy deficit plan (The New London Day 5/11)

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