Judge Keeps Federal Approval For East Windsor Casino Out Of Reach

Oct 1, 2018

The governor signed a bill that would allow the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a casino in East Windsor over a year ago, but it still may not get built. A federal judge’s recent ruling against one of the tribes is calling the plan into doubt.

The Mashantucket Pequots need approval from the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs in order for their East Windsor casino to move forward. But they haven’t gotten it yet and a U.S. District Court judge won’t compel the bureau to act.

The tribe and the state of Connecticut filed suit against the federal government arguing that the that the department withheld action when it didn’t take action on the Mashantucket Pequot’s agreement with the state within 45 days.

In a statement, a spokesman for the joint venture between the tribes called MMCT said they were disappointed with the ruling and are reviewing their options.

“I don’t think this is necessarily the end of it,” said Rep. Christopher Davis, a Republican serving East Windsor and Ellington. “I think now MMCT and the state of Connecticut both have to review their legal options here moving forward and what exactly needs to be approved or not approved and if there’s an opportunity to appeal this decision to try to force that approval.”

If this project is completed, it would be the first casino in the state that is not on tribal land. The federal government has already approved Mohegan’s agreement with the state, but the Mashantucket Pequot agreement still needs the go-ahead.  

The venture hasn’t begun construction yet even though it demolished the old movie theater located on the East Windsor site. But for now, at least, the plan appears to be stalled.