MGM Resort International’s attempts to open a new Connecticut casino has come to a halt due to the decision of the federal appeals court, which ruled against It on Wednesday. The lawsuit is expected to be a long one since the new casino in East Windsor has the potential to change the casino industry in the state.
The US Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of the lower court of MGM’s claim that the state of Connecticut deprived it of the opportunity to compete for a third casino in the state. The authorities allowed only two of the operators to compete for the third property. They are Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun which already have a big influence in the gambling field in Connecticut.
According to a law issued in 2015, the right to seek a site for construction and to look for final approval from the legislature belongs exclusively to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which owns the Foxwoods Resort Casino, and the Mohegan Tribe – the owners of Mohegan Sun. Upon finding out that this was the situation, MGM Resort International demanded its rights for fair competition and filed a lawsuit against the state.
The Court of Appeal’s respond to this claim was immediate and the officials stated their argument that the 2015 special act did not deprive the company of the chance to develop a casino and arrange the matter with the municipalities, and it also did not give the Tribes the right to build anything. In order for this to happen, a second special law is required, which has not been used to that moment, but it became reality on June 7.
The claim which the company filed is considered a premature one since at the time the case was argued, MGM could not show it have had any specific development plans for the projects. Furthermore, MGM Resort International has an exclusivity agreement in the state of Massachusetts which prevents it from building a casino property within 50 miles of Springfield. This means that Connecticut is off limits for the company.
However, on the 7th of June, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill which gives the tribes the legal right to jointly develop a new casino in the developing East Windsor area. This is the step, which MGM fears and against which it can eventually have the legal standing to sue, making the hypothetical problem a very real one. Apart from the East Windsor matter, the company is trying to convince the legislature to allow operators to compete for Fairfield County. A new casino resort located there will easily attract customers from the New York market.