State claims Interior ‘buckled’ under political pressure on casino question

Flag of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior (Wikimedia Commons)

NEW LONDON — A new court filing claims the U.S. Department of the Interior “buckled under undue political pressure” in failing to act on an amended gambling agreement between the state of Connecticut and a federally recognized American Indian tribe.

The Day reports the state and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe made the claim in a court filing Wednesday as they seek to amend their lawsuit against the Interior.

The filing says the department was preparing to approve the gambling agreement until it was pressured to stop the deal by Nevada lawmakers who receive campaign support from casino operator MGM Resorts International, owner of a Springfield, Massachusetts casino.

The amended agreement would have allowed the Mashantucket Pequots and another tribe to open a new casino nearby, in East Windsor.

MGM Resorts say the tribe’s request is “meritless.”