Connecticut asked a federal court to dismiss MGM Resorts’ lawsuit to block the state’s two tribal casino.
Assistant Attorney General Robert Deichert filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson to dismiss MGM Resorts International’s lawsuit filed in August, arguing that MGM has no legal standing to sue, offering a dry legal argument about timing, as well as a juicier suggestion the company fabricated an interest in building its own casino in Connecticut.
According to the motion, MGM’s Massachusetts casino license restricts the company to build other gambling developments within 50 miles, with an exclusion zone that covers north-central Connecticut such as Hartford, Tolland and Windham counties, large portions of Litchfield, New Haven and Middlesex counties and much of New London County.
The state also said that the law passed earlier this year, which MGM argued to have the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegan, gave the tribes no legal right to develop anything. The legislature actually rejected a request by the tribes, which are trying to maintain market share for their casinos in eastern Connecticut, for authorization for a casino in the I-91 corridor north of Hartford to compete with Springfield.
Instead, the legislature passed a consolation prize: a measure creating a formal process by which the tribes or any company could select and negotiate with a community willing to host a casino. Nothing could be built, however, without passage of another law.
“Put simply, [the gaming act] has no impact on MGM’s ability to take whatever steps it chooses to take toward developing a casino in Connecticut,” said the motion.
MGM Resorts International Executive Vice President Alan Feldman confirmed receipt of the copy of the motion and said, “After an initial review, the State seeks to avoid the serious constitutional issues raised by the legislation and instead asks the Court to dismiss the suit on specious procedural arguments,” Feldman said. “We look forward to responding and our day in court.”
East Hartford Casino Proposal Moves Forward
The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted to approve a permit to allow alternative recreation at the former Showcase Cinemas on Silver Lane.
Developer Silver Lane Partners proposed to renovate the theater, which opened in 1973 and closed in 2008, into Connecticut’s third casino.
East Hartford is among several towns, including Enfield and East Windsor, pitching plans in hopes of being the location for a casino in north central Connecticut.
The proposed casino, estimated to cost about $150-300 million, would include 1,000 to 2,000 seats at slots or table games; two restaurants that the Mohegan tribe has franchise rights to; a German beer hall and Bavarian beer garden; two bars; a dance club; and 950 parking spaces for customers. The plan does not include retail shops. The plan seek to prevent gamblers from the Hartford market from driving to Massachusetts.