MGM Resorts International is currently in a heated legal fight with several Native American Tribes in Connecticut. The major casino company believes these tribes are close to holding a monopoly over the state’s casino market. This week, the US Interior Department asked for the MGM lawsuit against CT tribes to be dismissed.
Today, we’re going to look at why exactly this lawsuit is taking place. We’re also going to talk about the Interior Department’s new opinion of this legal battle. Let’s get into it.
Connecticut’s Laws on Casino Gambling
Connecticut is a small state and one that’s not typically thought of as a major gambling destination. Interestingly, some of the biggest casino-resorts in the world are based here. These casinos are hugely popular and help to bring the state millions of dollars in revenue every year.
For many years, very few wagering options were available in this state. In 1983, lawmakers here approved a state lottery. Charity gambling was also legalized. Special rules were also made on bingo gambling. This game could be wagered on for $1 as long as the maximum prize does not exceed $5.
In 1988, the US government approved the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. This allows Native American Tribes to operate casinos on sovereign land. Two years prior to this law, the Mashantucket Pequot tribe opened a bingo hall on their land. By 1993, this gambling venue had slots and table games available to patrons.
Connecticut is now home to two major casino-resorts. Both are among the biggest in the world.
There are no laws in this state that explicitly ban online casino gambling. Many different online casinos in CT are now available, most of which offer a wide range of different gambling options.
MGM Lawsuit Against CT Tribes, Explained
MGM Resorts International owns many casinos all over the country. One of their top gambling destinations is in Springfield, Massachusetts. This company has recently taken legal action against the US Interior Department, the group who they believe is violating federal law and giving the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans an “unlawful state-conferred monopoly” on casino gambling in Connecticut.
Initially, MGM accused Connecticut of constitutional violations. The company felt the state’s no-bid approval of an East Windsor casino was made to purposely compete with MGM Springfield. The MGM lawsuit against CT tribes is now aimed at stopping the state from approving any additional casinos in the future.
“The amendments are not limited to an East Windsor casino: they facilitate commercial, off-reservation gaming by the tribal joint venture anywhere in Connecticut, and state legislators have recently proposed granting the joint venture an exclusive, no-bid license to operate a casino in Bridgeport, Connecticut,” the suit says. “The amendments thus confer a statewide, perpetual competitive advantage on the joint venture.”
Many individuals in Connecticut began pushing against this lawsuit. Several groups believe that MGM is simply trying to bully the state into submission.
This week, the US Interior Department officially requested for this lawsuit to be dismissed.
Interior Department Fights Against MGM Lawsuit
Officials in Connecticut were not going to bend to MGM’s will without putting up a fight. Andrew Doba, a spokesperson for the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations partnership behind the East Windsor plan, commented on the lawsuit to the media last month.
“The choice for Connecticut policymakers can’t get any clearer,” Doba said. “We can either let a Las Vegas company that generates not one dime of revenue for the state push us around, or we can stand strong with the tribes and an industry that’s generated more than $8 billion in tax revenue and currently employs 18,000 people.”
The US Interior Department has now requested for the MGM lawsuit against CT tribes to be dismissed. The government body claims MGM is using “inapplicable legal requirements.” We’ll need to wait and see if a federal judge approves the Interior Department’s case dismissal.
The MGM lawsuit against CT tribes isn’t the only legal case this company is involved in. Recently, MGM Resorts agreed to a settlement with victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
Stay tuned for more Connecticut gambling news over the next few months!