Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mohegan And Mashantucket Pequot Nations Dig In On Keno

Feather News

The following Tribes In The Media installment is an article from The Day newspaper's website that covers tribal responses to the state's proposal to start a gambling game called Keno.

Tribes tell legislators keno would violate gaming compact
By Karin Crompton
The Day
March 2, 2010

Representatives of the two Indian tribes that run casinos in Connecticut said today that the state's proposal to use the game of keno to generate revenue would likely violate the agreement between the state and the tribes that regulates casino gaming.

The representatives of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes spoke to the state's Public Safety and Security Committee during an informational hearing today. The committee is holding a public hearing on the issue this afternoon.

Proponents of the idea say that keno is a lottery game similar to existing games of chance the state already offers. But the tribal representatives had another take.

"It is a casino game," said John Meskel, director of operations for the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Commission. "It's very close to what we play at the casino. The reason we play it at the casino is because it's a complement to the casino games."

Jackson King, general counsel to the Mashantucket Pequots, said the state's Memo of Understanding with the tribes says the tribes "have no obligation to paying (a precentage of their revenue to the state) if anyone else in the state is permitted to operate video facsimiles or other commercial casino games."

The committee heard from a number of speakers who said it is unclear whether the state would prevail if the tribes challenged Connecticut's use of keno in court. A representative from the state's attorney general's office said courts have ruled differently in different states, and noted also that the state's compact with the tribes has not been challenged in court.