AG says casino bill could prompt challenges

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Attorney General George Jepsen is warning Connecticut legislative leaders that a bill allowing the state’s two federally recognized tribes to open jointly operated casinos could face legal challenges from other gambling entities.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Mohegan Tribe currently operate casinos on sovereign land in southeastern Connecticut.

Jepsen says a third party could claim that giving them exclusive gambling rights in the state, including areas outside their reservations, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Jepsen spelled out his concerns in a letter Wednesday that was obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request.

Jepsen said the legislation could also make it easier for other Connecticut tribes to open casinos if they win federal recognition.

The tribes want to open new casinos to blunt out-of-state competition.