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Appeals Court Rules Against MGM Resorts In Connecticut Casino Case

Casino operator MGM Resorts International suffered a major setback in its battle against Connecticut tribal operators after an appeals court upheld an earlier ruling that dismissed MGM’s claims of being at a competitive disadvantage in the state.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has agreed with a Connecticut judge that MGM’s lawsuit against the state had no basis. MGM Resorts has been a vocal opponent of the plan by two Connecticut Native American tribes to develop a satellite casino in East Windsor that seeks to counter competition from the upcoming MGM Springfield casino nearby.

According to MGM, the Connecticut government’s approval for the third casino without holding an open and transparent bidding process for other operators to participate in was unconstitutional. The appeals court however called MGM’s claims speculative pointing out that right now neither MGM nor other commercial gambling operators had any immediate plans to initiate a casino project in the state.


The court also agreed with the lower court’s judgement that the current legislation that allows the tribes to build a casino was not hampering efforts of other casinos to enter the market. According to the appeals court, the case might go up for review if MGM is able to prove that it suffered harm due to the legislation. The court stated that MGM could not prove that it suffered any immediate harm as everything posed so far was only speculative in nature.

Reacting to the ruling, MGM Resorts legal counsel Uri Clinton said that the company would continue to pursue its campaign to have a chance to compete in Connecticut.

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, which currently run the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut, are planning on constructing a $300 million casino that will feature a gaming area of over 100,000 square feet featuring nearly 2,000 slot machines and between 50 – 150 gaming tables. Additionally a whole host of amenities like shops, restaurants, and live entertainment venues will also be developed.

The tribes had warned that without a third casino near the state border, MGM Springfield would eat into Connecticut’s gambling revenue. The proposal for the tribal casino received legislative approval earlier this year and is awaiting Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s signature. Malloy has indicated that he was in favor of the plan and would sign the bill into law, which would formally begin the process of Connecticut getting its first casino on non-tribal land.

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