The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation filed a lawsuit against Connecticut, its chief said Monday, asserting a state casino law is unconstitutional.
That law grants two rival tribes -- the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians – the right to exclusively pursue Connecticut's first ever commercial casino on non-tribal land.
Kent, Conn.-based Schaghticoke filed the litigation Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in Hartford, according to Chief Richard L. Velky. He said the law violates both the U.S. and state constitutions.
"Without any competitive bidding or gaming study, Connecticut shut out the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and awarded to one pair of Native American tribes the exclusive ability to develop a highly-valuable commercial enterprise," Velky said in a statement. "Under the equal protection clauses of the federal and state constitutions, the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation should have the same right to pursue this economic opportunity as anyone else."
A spokesman for Gov. Dannel Malloy declined comment.
Velky added that STN has joined forces with MGM Resorts International Global Gaming Development, which also sued in the same court.
The controversy percolates amid a battle for casino territory throughout New England.
The Connecticut legislation enabled the federally recognized Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a small off-reservation casino land. They are studying the area of Interstate 91 north of capital city Hartford, in an attempt to counter the effects of a proposed new casino in Springfield, Mass.
In Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo last week signed a bill authorizing Twin River Casino of Lincoln, R.I., to add a $75 million casino in Tiverton, near the Massachusetts border.