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May 24, 2017

Schaghticokes threaten to sue CT over casino expansion process

Rendering | Contributed The proposed third casino in East Windsor.

Within hours of the Senate’s passage of a bill allowing the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a commercial casino in East Windsor, the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation said Wednesday it will sue over what it calls a “closed process” that prevents other bidders from competing for the state’s third casino site.

Last year, the Schaghticoke Tribe, which is still fighting for federal recognition, withdrew a lawsuit against the state, challenging lawmakers’ decision to give the Pequot and Mohegan tribes exclusive rights to develop a third casino.

On Wednesday, Schaghticoke Chief Richard Velky warned that if the state doesn’t open the bidding process, it will fight the decision again in court.

“If the citizens of Connecticut want a better deal and a proposal where the numbers add up, the open, competitive process is not only the right thing to do – it turns out to be the most financially responsible thing to do as well,” Velky said in a statement.

The federally recognized Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, which already own and operate their own casinos exclusively in Connecticut, are seeking the support of lawmakers and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for plans to build a third casino in East Windsor to counteract the competition from a new MGM Springfield resort casino.

Late Tuesday, the Senate passed the bill authorizing the East Windsor casino, and referred it to the House of Representatives.

Malloy reiterated his support for the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan plan, saying through a spokesperson that “the legislature should remain focused on maintaining the state’s longstanding partnership with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal nations and protecting jobs.”

Competing bills in the legislature would open up the process to other casino developers, a move MGM Resorts International also has openly supported.

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