Mohegan Tribe Chairman Kevin Brown, left, and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler. Photo: CT Jobs Matter

Tribes welcome bill to advance casino stalled by Trump administration

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe are hoping to revive a casino that has been stalled by the Trump administration.

The tribes joined forces and gained state approval to build a new facility in Connecticut. To ensure that the development did not disrupt their existing casinos, they updated their gaming agreements with the state and submitted them to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for review.

The Trump administration, however, waited almost 10 months to publish notice of the Mohegan Tribe's agreement. Federal law otherwise requires a decision within 45 days.

But the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation's agreement remains in limbo. As part of an ongoing lawsuit, government attorneys have argued that the BIA isn't required to make a decision at all.

Rather than wait for that issue to be resolved in court, the tribes are welcoming the introduction of a bill in the Connecticut Legislature that would eliminate the need for the Mashantucket agreement to be approved by the Trump administration in Washington, D.C.

"This bill would make right something that should have been done long ago in D.C.,’’ a spokesperson for the tribes told The Harford Courant. “The tribes want nothing more than to continue their partnership with the state. We're grateful to the delegation for their ongoing support and look forward to working with them in the coming session."

The tribes had hoped to have their facility open by now. They chose a site in the city of East Windsor in order to compete with a commercial casino that was under development in neighboring Massachusetts.

MGM Resorts International, which has strongly opposed the tribes' efforts, opened its $950 million casino in August. It's located in Springfield, less than 15 miles from East Windsor.

Read More on the Story
Lawmakers will make new push to complete East Windsor casino (The Hartford Courant December 12, 2018) Osten, others introduce bill boosting East Windsor casino (The New London Day December 11, 2018)

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