Mashantucket Pequot Tribe v. Connecticut

913 F.2d 1024 (1990)

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Mashantucket Pequot Tribe v. Connecticut

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
913 F.2d 1024 (1990)

Facts

The State of Connecticut (defendant) allowed class III games of chance, such as blackjack, poker, roulette, and baccarat, under limited circumstances benefiting nonprofit organizations. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe (tribe) (plaintiff) wanted to offer those games and other casino-based games of chance games on its land, so it requested that the state enter into negotiations aimed at reaching a tribal-state compact allowing these games on its reservation. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) required states, upon request, to negotiate in good faith with tribes regarding the authorization of class III gaming activity by tribal-state compact. Under its provisions governing class II and III games, IGRA additionally required that the Indian land be located in a state that allowed the particular gaming activity “for any purpose.” The state refused the tribe’s request, claiming that state law prohibited most class III games, the games violated public policy, and the limited circumstances in which they were allowed did not qualify as allowing the activity for any purpose. The tribe filed suit in district court, seeking an order requiring the state to negotiate a tribal-state compact. Both parties moved for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the tribe, finding that the state law allowing class III games under certain circumstances, although limited, did not completely prohibit that gaming conduct and, therefore, did not violate state public policy, as was required to refuse compact negotiations. The state appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mahoney, J.)

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