Citizens of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation descended on the Connecticut State Capitol on May 9, 2017, to speak out against a bill to authorize a new casino. Photo: STN

Schaghticoke Tribal Nation threatens another lawsuit over casino

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation is once again threatening to sue over plans for a new casino in Connecticut.

The Schaghticokes want to be able to bid on the project. But a bill making its way through the State Legislature limits the process to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe.

"Once they leave the reservation and it becomes a commercial licensed gaming anybody, it should be open to the citizens," Schaghticoke Chief Richard Velky said last week after the bill cleared the State Senate, NBC Connecticut reports. The tribe is asking "Why Not Us?"

Schaghticoke Tribal Nation on YouTube: Why Not Us? #DemandABetterDeal

The Schaghticokes sued the state last year with the help of a non-Indian gaming firm that also wants to bid on the casino. The lawsuit was dropped just a few months later.

The non-Indian firm is MGM Resorts International, whose executives are interested in Bridgeport, The Connecticut Post reports. But Mashantucket and Mohegan leaders say MGM is feigning interest only to derail their proposed casino in East Windsor.

The tribes also point out that MGM is busy with its $950 million commercial casino in Springfield, Massachusetts. The facility is due to open in the fall of 2018.

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

The tribes chose East Windsor for their potential casino because it's only about 13 miles from Springfield. They also believe they can get to the market before MGM does.

The tribes are pursuing the casino outside of the framework of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act so federal approval is not needed. The site in East Windsor will not be taken into trust either.

The Schaghticokes are recognized as a tribe by the state but not by the federal government. But nothing prevents them from pursuing a casino outside of IGRA either.

Read More on the Story:
Tribe Threatens Lawsuit if Legislature Doesn't Allow Bids for Third Casino (NBC Connecticut 5/30)
Bridgeport’s Ganim keeps casino developers at arm’s length (The Connecticut Post 5/30)

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