The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has missed a deadline to approve or reject plans for a tribal casino in East Windsor, Connecticut. The casino would be jointly owned by the state’s two federally recognized Native American tribes. The tribes say this is not going to stop them from going ahead with their plans.
Connecticut’s General Assembly gave the tribes permission to open the East Windsor casino to compete with a $950 million MGM casino in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts. The proposal went to the BIA earlier this year, but the agency hasn’t made a ruling. Lawyers for the tribes say under federal law that amounts to a tacit approval. But in a letter sent to the BIA this week, they say they still want a ruling.
Meanwhile, MGM International is seeking state approval for a planned $600 million casino in Bridgeport. MGM says it would bring thousands of jobs to Connecticut’s largest city and millions of dollars for the state in licensing fees this fiscal year. A spokesman for the tribes said the plan is a ploy to try and thwart the tribal casino in East Windsor. MGM sued the State of Connecticut last year, saying it was unfair to allow only the tribes to build new casinos on non-tribal land. That lawsuit was thrown out earlier this year.