Foxwoods Deal Signals Connecticut May Be Next State to Regulate
With several regional neighbors embracing the online gambling industry, Connecticut’s casino titan Foxwoods is looking to get in on the action.
In an early February press release, Foxwoods Resort Casino confirmed a newly signed partnership with U.K.-based iGaming developer PariPlay. Under the terms of that deal, Foxwoods will integrate PariPlay’s innovative eyeON platform, which allows visitors to the brick and mortar casino to enjoy gambling games through their internet connected smartphones, tablets, and other devices.
Gili Lisani, founder and chief executive officer of PariPlay, positioned the eyeOn platform’s limited scope of onsite play as the perfect precursor to full-fledged iGaming adoption:
“Interactive gaming is a critical growth factor for the land-based casino industry in the US.
We feel that the growth is closely tied to On-premises interactive gaming using mobile devices, and our eyeON product remains the pioneering product in this space.
Our partnership with Foxwoods, one of the world’s leading land-based casino groups, allows Pariplay to demonstrate our leadership potential to be a significant technology player in US gaming, Pariplay will almost certainly play an instrumental role in its digital future.”
Seth Young, who serves as director of online gaming for Foxwoods, marked the casino’s first foray into America’s contested iGaming industry:
“We are thrilled to partner with Pariplay and leverage their world class interactive gaming platform to lay the groundwork for our entry into the USA’s iGaming market.
Developing an interactive gaming program is the next step in Foxwoods’ commitment to providing an ever-expanding range of amenities to match the changing needs of our guests, and to continue to be first-to-market with unique experiences for visitors.”
Online gambling is not currently covered by Connecticut law, and accordingly, the press release explicitly mentions that offering such services would be “subject to any necessary legislation and regulatory review and approval.”
But as reporter Steve Ruddock of the Online Poker Report noted, both parties going public with the deal would suggest that encouraging legal opinions on the matter have already been provided by counsel.
Foxwoods is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, one of two major casino operators in Connecticut along with the Mohegan Tribe (Mohegan Sun). But while the PariPlay deal represents the Mashantucket’s first entrance to the iGaming industry, the Mohegan have prior experience in that regard.
The Mohegan own and operate Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As the home of America’s most successful regulated iGaming marketplace, New Jersey counts three Resorts AC operated iGaming platforms among the state’s 25 licensed sites: ResortsCasino.com, MoheganSunCasino.com, and PokerStarsNJ.com.
With both of Connecticut’s gaming industry stakeholders now on board with iGaming in one way or another, Foxwoods devoted a section of its PariPlay press release to lobbying for full-scale legalization and regulation:
“The Pariplay on-premises solution is an exciting new amenity that will allow our guests to game anywhere that is legally permissible, and will allow us to prepare for broader opportunities outside of the four walls of the physical property.
It is also an excellent new business opportunity for this organization, and by proxy the state of Connecticut, as iGaming has demonstrated its ability to both drive new revenues and augment the operations at brick-and-mortar facilities.
This is a major step forward for Foxwoods, one of USA’s leading gaming and entertainment brands.”
The revenue generating ability of regulated iGaming was recently demonstrated in New Jersey, which tallied just over $245 million in revenue from its licensed operators last year alone.
Adding further pressure for Connecticut lawmakers, Pennsylvania became the fourth state to regulate iGaming late last year, while fellow northeastern neighbor New York explores similar legislation.