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Connecticut v. United States DOI

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

September 29, 2018, Decided; September 29, 2018, Filed

Civil Action No.: 17-2564 (RC)

Opinion

 [*288]  Re Document Nos.: 11, 18, 28, 30, 31, 34, 44, 49

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Granting MGM's Motion to Intervene; Granting Federal Defendants' Motion [**2]  to Dismiss

I. INTRODUCTION

The approval and regulation of gambling (or "gaming") on Native American ("tribal") land requires a careful balancing of tribal, state, and federal law, and this action implicates that balance. Plaintiffs the state of Connecticut (the "state") and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe ("Pequot") seek to amend the federally-imposed procedures authorizing gambling on Pequot land within Connecticut under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (the "IGRA"). This amendment is necessary for Pequot to operate a commercial casino on Connecticut land. The procedures require that Plaintiffs obtain the Secretary of the Interior's (the "Secretary") approval to amend them; approval the Secretary has withheld. Plaintiffs assert that the IGRA requires that the Secretary and the United States Department of the Interior (the "Department") (together, "Federal Defendants") deem the amendments approved, and they ask this Court to require the Secretary to publish a notice of approval in the Federal Register.

MGM Resorts Global Development, LLC ("MGM"), a multinational commercial casino operator, claims to have an interest in this action because the Secretary's approval of Plaintiffs' [**3]  proposed amendments would give Pequot a competitive advantage over MGM in the market for commercial gambling in Connecticut and the surrounding states. First, MGM asserts that both it and Pequot have proposed the development of a casino in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the state's approval of one proposal over the other largely hinges on the Secretary's decision at issue in this action. Second, MGM asserts that the Secretary's approval of Plaintiffs' proposed amendments would clear the final hurdle preventing the development of a casino in East Windsor, Connecticut that would directly compete with MGM's casino in Springfield, Massachusetts. Accordingly, MGM seeks to intervene as a defendant.

Now before the Court are Federal Defendants' motion to dismiss the action,  [*289]  MGM's motion to intervene as a defendant, and several related motions. For the reasons stated below, the Court will allow MGM to intervene as a defendant and it will dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

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344 F. Supp. 3d 279 *; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168554 **; 2018 WL 4681619

STATE OF CONNECTICUT and MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT TRIBE, Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR and RYAN ZINKE, Secretary of the Interior, Defendant.

Subsequent History: Motion granted by, in part State v. United States DOI, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24576 (D.D.C., Feb. 15, 2019)

CORE TERMS

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