MGM Resorts International filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Haven with Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy as a defendant, saying a law he signed that could lead to a third tribal casino in the state is unconstitutional because it gives the two tribes “preferential treatment” while barring out-of-state competitors from developing a casino in Connecticut.
Malloy approved legislation in June authorizing the tribes to build a jointly run $300m casino along Interstate 91, to compete with MGM Resorts’ $800m casino just across the border in Springfield, Massachusetts, which is expected to open in 2018.
MGM President Bill Hornbuckle claimed that his company applied for a casino license in the state after the passage of the act but was rejected last week.
“MGM is ready, willing and able to compete for the opportunity to develop a commercial casino gaming facility in Connecticut, but is excluded by the act from competing for this opportunity,” the company said in its complaint.
“We are disappointed by this decision. MGM regularly competes for commercial casino development opportunities and would like to be able to do so in Connecticut,” Hornbuckle said. “While our company is supportive of tribal gaming as permitted under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the law passed in Connecticut gives two preferred tribes an unfair and unjustified preferential treatment by designating them as the only entities, tribal or commercial, authorized to negotiate with cities and enter development agreements for a new commercial casino on non-reservation land in Connecticut.”
MGM also asked the federal court to declare the law “invalid, null, and void in its entirety” and stop officials from abiding by it.