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Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Appeals Court Ruling, Claims Political Influence

Tribal casino operation in Connecticut has been the subject of a long discussion especially following the most recent turn of events involving the Mashantucket Pequot Native American tribe and its considered joint venture with Mohegan Sun in East Windsor. Now previous projections have come true and the Mashantucket Pequot has decided to make its voice heard and appeal the US District Court decision issued recently.

The Mashantucket Pequot tribe is more than determined to seek its rights and achieve a better understanding of the overall situation with the help of a recently filed appeal. The Native American tribe claims that the final decision of the federal court has been influenced in a way that aims to prevent the tribes from further pursuing the gambling facility project.

The tribe pointed out that previous conversations with the Interior Department back in 2016 and 2017 have not indicated any concerns or doubt that the partnership between the tribes would give actual results. MGM Resorts has the power to take actions if the state of Connecticut or the Native American tribe decide to voice their discontent with the ruling.

Native American Tribe Voices Discontent

Furthermore, the Mashantucket Pequot tribe even went so far as to state that back then they received reassurance that the project is well on its way to receive the approval of the Interior Department. In the recent filing striving to appeal the decision “improper political influence” has been pointed out. In addition to that, the Administrative Procedure Act has also been violated according to the tribe.

It could be recalled that last year witnessed yet another lawsuit filed against the Interior Department claiming that casino developer and operator MGM Resorts had impacted the entire process. The rumor mill never seems to stop and it has been previously speculated that MGM Resorts might have had an effect on the decision. Its newly launched casino resort in Springfield Massachusetts is going to be directly affected by the operation of the proposed joint tribal casino in East Windsor.

There has been information listed in the lawsuit claiming that Senator Dean Heller has had a personal meeting with Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior Department back in the summer of 2017. Allegedly during the dinner, Sen. Heller pressured Mr. Zynke to do his best and put fewer efforts into the casino venue project. On another occasion Assistant Deputy Secretary James Cason confirmed the tribes’ suspicions, stating that members of the Congress have made an attempt to influence the process.

MGM Resorts and Congress AllegedlyImpact the Project

In the meantime, MGM Springfield already negatively impacts the operation and revenue of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino. The former tribal casino venue saw an 8.8-percent revenue drop in the weeks following the official launch of MGM Springfield, whereas Foxwoods Resort Casino recently reported only 5 percent lower gaming revenue.

The tribal casino venue near East Windsor was positioned in a way that would prevent players flocking towards the Massachusetts casino resort and provide the buffer role in this situation. Earlier this month one ruling was capable of changing previous plans of the two Native American tribes and turn them around. Judge Rudolph Contreras of the US District Court of the District of Columbia made it clear that the federal government has no obligation to give green light to the joint tribal venture.

The reasoning behind this ruling stems from the fact that the tribes have not provided sufficient arguments for why they should build a casino venue outside their reservations. The tribes have been working towards receiving a gaming permit from the state without the mandatory bidding process, but as it turns out their efforts were nixed.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.