MGM keeps up pressure on tribal casino plans

12 July 2016

MGM Resorts International is continuing to pursue all options in its bid to prevent the development of a tribal casino project in Connecticut close to its planned $950 million (€856.7 million) Massachusetts resort.

The gaming group was defeated by Connecticut senators when it recently put forward an amendment to the Federal Defense Bill that would prevent tribal nations with casinos on tribal land from opening an off-reservation property in the same state.

If the amendment had been passed it would have prevented Connecticut’s Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations from building a proposed satellite casino that could rival the MGM Springfield in neighbouring Massachusetts.

As well as pursuing the federal option, the Associated Press news agency said that MGM has teamed up with a state-recognised tribe that filed a similar suit. MGM also challenged the closed-door meetings by the state’s airport authority about possibly hosting the casino at Bradley International Airport.

The report said MGM has enlisted former US Attorney General Eric Holder and a contingent of state lobbyists and public relations experts as well.

Alan Feldman, executive vice president of MGM Resorts International, told the Associated Press that MGM isn’t fighting the proposed satellite casino per se, but rather the process created by Connecticut to possibly allow a casino on non-tribal land.

Connecticut senator Chris Murphy, one of those that opposed the federal amendment, said: “It’s pretty exceptional to try to solve a local issue in the defense authorisation bill, so we weren’t going to let that amendment go anywhere. It’s clear that MGM is using every angle they can find to try to stop this project from going forward.”

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