Connecticut Tribal Gaming
On 12 October 2005, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) issued a reconsidered final determination against the Eastern Pequots. The BIA recognized the Eastern Pequots three years earlier, but a Department of the Interior appeals board overturned the decision based on lawsuits filed by the state and three local towns. Tribe leaders said they would persevere. The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, another Connecticut tribe denied recognition by the BIA, also filed a lawsuit. In March 2007, the Connecticut attorney general urged the property owner of one of the properties claimed by the Eastern Pequots to fight the land claim. The state asked for the case to be dismissed when, in July 2007, the tribe had not taken any action in pursuing it. A federal judge denied the tribe's request for more discovery, essentially dismissing the case.
In March 2008, a new state Senate bill was introduced by the public health committee that would ban smoking in Connecticut's casinos by repealing the current liquor permit exception that allows smoking at both Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino. In May 2008, the Senate voted to create a committee that would negotiate a ban with the tribes the next year. The bill then went to the House, where it died. Both tribes expressed relief and hope to discuss instituting a ban on a government-to-government basis. Supporters of the smoking ban have stated they will continue to fight. In March 2009, the House Public Health Committee released a bill that would ban smoking at both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun by 2011. In May 2009, the legislation was killed when the state Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee declined to act on the bill. Despite this, both casinos voluntarily agreed to limit smoking areas.
2012 saw the renewal of federal recognition efforts from the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe. Two prior attempts failed more than 20 years ago (once when they were a single tribe, and once by each tribe following their split in the 1980s). Federal recognition and recovery of tribal land would mean the potential of expanded gaming in the state.
In March 2015, a proposal to expand casino gambling in Connecticut passed through the state legislature's public safety committee. The bill, also known as An Act Concerning Gaming, came in response to new competition from neighboring states, notably two resort-casino developments in Massachusetts. If passed by the state legislature, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe would operate up to three new casinos placed strategically near state highways that lead to competing casinos in neighboring states.
In June 2017, the General Assembly’s Public Safety and Security Committee passed a bill to establish an open bidding process for the third casino to avoid a lawsuit from MGM which is building a casino in nearby Springfield.
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