- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A tribe in western Connecticut has joined forces with MGM Resorts to halt plans to allow two federally recognized tribes to pursue a new casino in the state.

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and Las Vegas-based MGM each has filed a lawsuit challenging the law that created a multi-step process for the tribes that own the Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun to build a commercial, off-reservation casino together.

The Schaghticokes, who filed their lawsuit Monday in federal court in Hartford, said they are teaming up with MGM to pursue their mutual interests. MGM, which is planning its own casino across the state line in Massachusetts, is providing financial assistance for the tribe’s lawsuit, officials said.

“The State has a long history of discriminating against the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation,” Schaghticoke Chief Richard Velky said. “Recently, the State fought our federal recognition, supposedly because they didn’t want another casino in Connecticut. Now Connecticut wants to open a new casino, but only if the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation doesn’t get an opportunity to submit a proposal to operate it.”

Velky leads one of two rival Schaghticoke factions in Kent.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe say they want the new casino to stem an anticipated loss of business to the MGM Resorts casino planned for Springfield, Massachusetts. Under a law passed last year, the tribes would issue a request for proposals from municipalities interested in hosting a satellite casino.

In its challenge of the state law, MGM said it is ready and able to compete to build a casino of its own in Connecticut but was unfairly excluded from the running.

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