MGM Resorts to Take Steps to Stop Tribal Casino in Connecticut

MGM Resorts International will try to prevent the construction of a tribal casino in Connecticut that would compete with MGM’s own resort being built in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy signed a bill last month that permits the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan tribes to begin talking to municipalities about a third casino in the state. The legislature would still need to amend state law to approve the casino.

“We’re not going to go peacefully,” William Hornbuckle, president of MGM, said in an interview on Wednesday. Hornbuckle wouldn’t say what steps are planned. MGM is “contemplating our options,” he said.

The fight in Connecticut illustrates the competitive strains on the casino business as more states add betting and the overall market grows only modestly.

The Pequots operate the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, while the Mohegans own the Mohegan Sun in nearby Uncasville. Las Vegas-based MGM won a multiyear contest to build a casino in Springfield. The company has asked the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for permission to open the $800 million facility in 2018.

Connecticut’s two casinos, among the largest in the nation, have lost business with the expansion of gambling in New York and other states. The opportunity to build the state’s third casino was only made available to the two tribes, Hornbuckle said.

Robert Soper, president of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, said in a July 1 interview that the Connecticut casino expansion law was “defensive” in nature and that he believed the new resort could open before MGM’s Springfield property.