May 15, 2017 by Landon Wheeler

MGM Resorts International is using a letter from U.S. Sen. John McCain expressing concern about the possibility of a third casino being opened in the state by tribal operators in its fight against the potential third tribal casino.

The company has been waging a long campaign against the tribes’ proposal to build a satellite casino in East Windsor in order to counter competition from the upcoming MGM Springfield casino across state lines.

Sent to the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, McCain’s letter raises concern regarding plans to develop a third casino by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes who operate the state’s two existing casinos Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun.

The letter includes a request to the Trump administration to avoid issuing a non-binding opinion that has been sought by MMCT, the joint venture firm comprising the two tribal operators. The opinion would tackle the effect of a third casino on the compact existing between the tribes and the state.

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The previous administration led by Barack Obama had issued an opinion that the guaranteed 25 percent of the monthly slot revenue sent to the state, wouldn't be jeopardized by the new proposal, addressing a key concern of legislators. The tribes have used this opinion as a sign of support for their plans to build the satellite casino.

But the final approval from the federal authorities is still pending as the state is yet to decide on whether it is backing the tribes’ proposal for a casino in East Windsor or opening up the process to other bidders. MGM International has been aggressively pushing for the state to launch a fresh bidding process.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen has also raised doubts on whether the gambling expansion efforts in the state would be supported by the new administration under President Donald Trump and whether the state’s revenue from the gaming industry would be protected. McCain who was one of the key architects of the Indian Gaming Regulatory ActThis letter is nothing more than an eleventh-hour tactic by MGM to stall our growing momentum. We've been working with the BIA for months, and expect to see the fruits of that labor in the near future.