Casino Industry Finds Strange Bedfellows In Connecticut & Maine

imagesIt is so interesting, sometimes bizarre, when different factions band together for a cause in the casino industry.  It can be to stop a a casino from happening as much as promoting the building of a casino.  In New England this month there are two of those alliances that hit the news.

York County, Maine om the Mass & NH borders where the third Casino in Maine is proposed

York County, Maine on the Mass & NH borders where the third Casino in Maine was proposed, and defeated

The first was a group that helped defeat the proposal for a third casino in the Maine legislature earlier this month.  The Christian Civic League of Maine stood against the gambling and casino industry as they sought to increase their presence in Maine. Why? …because they feel it is an “industry that is morally wrong and has ruined so many lives.”  NETG neither totally agrees not totally disagrees with their concerns, except to say their may be a bit of truth in any complete generality.

But, what I find interesting is that Christian groups were joining Penn National, which operates the Bangor casino, and Churchill Downs, which runs the one in Oxford, in opposing new casinos – grateful for the industry’s deep pockets to fight a third casino. “They are willing to invest without restraint in the political process,” said Carroll Conley, executive director of the Christian Civic League. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend, I guess.”  Wow!  The power that the two casinos in Maine  helped defeat that bill for entirely different reasons than the Christian Civic League of Maine, but in the end, both got what they wanted.  Only one got the help from the other they consider morally wrong – go figure.

MGM Resorts Logo

MGM Resorts

Now, in Connecticut, MGM continues to try to turn the knife into the Nutmeg’s proposal for a third casino.  Oh, that MGM Resorts International – anything to increase there means to more revenue.

MGM Ends Agreement with Foxwoods

MGM Ends Agreement with Foxwoods

MGM has no casino in it’s war chest of casinos either shared or managed that is tribal owned.  It did set up shop with Foxwoods in partnership between 2005 and 2013, but then pulled out of the deal.

Now, MGM is suing the state of CT.  For more info on the original suit in April, 2015, check out this article by Susan Haigh, AP, in the Las Vegas Sun., “MGM Resorts files lawsuit against Connecticut officials.”

According to Dan Glaun of MassLive,  “MGM puts forward a two-pronged constitutional argument: That the act violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and that it violates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. MGM alleges the law violates equal protection by limiting development to the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes to the exclusion of other racial and national groups, and violates the commerce clause by discriminating against out-of-state competitors.”

Schaghticoke

Chief Velkey at Press Conference, Courtesy of Schaghticoke Press.

In walks the The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation into this fight, asking MGM to them fight their own concerns about the state’s plan for opening a third casino in Connecticut. Andrew Doba, a spokesman for MMCT, the Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun group, said “Chief Velky [of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation] finally revealed that his operation is being bankrolled by MGM,”  This startling revelation — which according to the chief was a year in the making — should raise a red flag for anyone who is concerned about MGM’s plan to steal jobs from Connecticut residents.”

But truth be told, as Velkey put it, “it was ironic that the state opposed the Schaghticoke bid for federal recognition because the state didn’t want a third casino in Connecticut.”

Schaghticokes were denied recognition by state.

Schaghticokes were denied recognition by state.

Strange bedfellows, indeed.  But after first considering MGM’s suit against CT was just bullying delay tactics (see MGM’s Real Intentions in Suing Connecticut), I am beginning to think there is something truthful tin the Schaghticoke AND the MGM law suits.

So, what if decision plays out in both MGM & Schaghticoke favor? Here are my questions – comment if you agree with any:

  1. Connecticut loses law suit, and doesn’t build casino.
  2. Connecticut loses lawsuit, and MGM backs Schaghticoke casino in southwestern CT.
  3. Connecticut loses lawsuit, MMCT builds casino in Hartford area and a joint MGM/Schaghticoke casino is built in Bridgeport.

What do YOU think?

Binbin

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