MGM Resorts Loses Ground in Connecticut Casino Case

by Kyle Miller

MGM ResortsMGM Resorts has lost yet again in their efforts to see a law in the state of Connecticut overturned that allows local tribal groups to create a third casino in the state.

In the United States, competition in the gambling industry is tough. Operators are constantly having to deal with new venues popping up nearby, promotions on offer at competitors and more. In many cases, casino gaming operators will take issues up in court in order to hopefully see any changes that are set to take place stopped. Gaming operators want little competition so they can be the big dog in their particular area. The latest instance of this happening comes from the state of Connecticut. MGM Resorts has been trying to stop two tribal groups that are currently working together to create a third casino in the state. MGM does not want this to happen.

A Little Back Story

Back in June, MGM’s bid to see a dismissal of their challenge to state law regarding a joint venture of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes overturned was rejected. A federal appeals court did not rule in MGM’s favor. The Mohegan tribe operates the Mohegan Sun venue of the state while the Mashantucket Pequot operates the Foxwoods Resort Casino. The two have come together to create a joint venture known as MMCT to create a third casino in the state, but this time the venue would not be located on tribal lands.

MGM argued at the time that the law allowing the tribes to create a casino off tribal lands did not allow other operators of commercial casinos to bid for the third license. Because of this, the issue was in violation of the United States Equal Protection and Commerce clauses.

Current Status of the Case

Yesterday, it was reported that the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided to deny the bid by MGM.  A rehearing of their appeal was not granted. Reasoning for this ruling was not provide by the court.

The rejection of their appeal request has not been commented on by MGM but they most certainly are not happy about the decision. The two tribes have not started on the construction of the casino, a gaming venue that will be located in East Windsor. MMCT must wait for approval by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs before construction can begin.

The goal of the MMCT project is to be able to provide the northern region of the state with a gaming venue to fight against the MGM Springfield project which will open in Massachusetts in 2018. It is believed that the MGM casino will take away jobs as well as revenues from Connecticut. The new venue in East Windsor will supposedly off-set this issue, providing a space in state for gamblers to enjoy their favorite casino games.

MGM of course sees this as big competition and does not want to see a gaming venue placed closely to their new project. Thus, they continue to go back to court time and time again in order to try and fight the East Windsor venue.

The tribes worked hard in order to gain approvals from legislators of the state. If their plan was approved, the tribes offered to give the state 25% of the slot and table games revenues earned. If the legislators decided to go with a plan of open casino tender, then payments would have stopped by the tribes from their existing venues. Currently, the tribes provide 25% of slot gaming revenue from their existing properties to the state.