After two years of negotiation, online poker and expanded sports betting options will be coming to Connecticut.
Two tribes, the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, have exclusive rights to put on casino games within the state. The period of negotiation was prolonged by debates over whether sports betting fell into this category.
A few weeks ago, the Mohegan Tribe agreed to allow the Connecticut Lottery to operate sportsbooks in the rest of the state. However, the Mashantucket Pequod Tribe held out until this week.
Governor Lamont said the deal followed “a fairly frank conversation” with the tribes.
Bring it online
The Mohegan Tribe run the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT. Meanwhile, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe runs Foxwoods, in Ledyard, one of the best-known casinos outside of Vegas. The two tribes have also partnered up on a third brick-and-mortar location in East Windsor, which was under development prior to the deal.
The new agreement will allow the Connecticut Lottery to run fifteen sportsbook locations and one online gambling concern. The agreement also allows the tribes to get into sports betting both online and off. So, the tribes will also be launching their own retail and internet sites.
Lamont said of online gambling, “It’s something that all of our neighbors are doing — our neighboring states — and Connecticut is going to play. I think it’s a way to bring our cities and towns back to life. And it represents some real revenue for the taxpayers.”
In return, the State gets an 18% tax on any casino gambling income for the first five years, rising to 20% after that. They also get a 13.75% tax on any sports betting revenues. The deal also brings the tribe’s joint development in East Windsor to a halt.
The earliest agreed-upon locations for the Lottery’s B&Ms are Hartford and Bridgeport, both well over an hour away by car from Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun.
We do not know what the online gambling options will be yet. However, Foxwood’s is a poker hotspot, so it seems likely that they might offer some hold’em games online.
The Mohegan Tribe has an edge in the market already. Back in 2019, they cut a deal with a Malta-based online gambling service provider called the Kambi Group. As a result, they already have the key infrastructure set up for their online gambling launch.
Not everyone is pleased with the deal. For example, Sportech, whose access to the sports betting market will be controlled by the Connecticut Lottery, released a statement saying: “Connecticut consumers will be deprived of a healthy competitive betting marketplace. And the Connecticut jobs that Sportech supports will be at risk.”
Sportech went on to assure the residents of the Constitution State that they are continuing their “dialogue with the administration in pursuing gaming expansion that does not contravene laws or discriminate against not only our employees, but all Connecticut consumers.”
The rest of the state is moving on to the next stage of turning the deal into concrete and digital products.
Featured image source: Flickr