- Connecticut Is Closer To Regulated Sports Betting
- Online Casinos Will Be Run by Two Native American Tribes
- Agreement Positions Connecticut As New England's Premier Gaming State
After months of deliberating, the Connecticut government reached agreement with the state’s two Native American tribes on gambling expansion. Currently, the Mohegan Tribal nation and Mashantucket Pequots have a monopoly on gambling in the Constitution State. Through a compact with the government, the two tribes operate Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casino in eastern Connecticut.
Deal Allows Connecticut Gambling Expansion
Governor Ned Lamont and his partners in the legislature have attempted to modernize gaming over the past three years. However, after a strong push since 2021 began, all sides struck a deal for Connecticut gambling expansion. The deal will be sent to the state General Assembly for approval.
Both chambers of the Assembly are controlled by Democrats. Therefore, fellow Democratic Gov. Lamont should be able to shepherd the agreement to approval.
Before the deal was announced, there was a late-breaking controversy. The two Native American tribes, despite competing over regional patrons to their casinos, typically move in lockstep. However, the Mohegan tribe agreed to a deal with the state before the Mashantucket Pequots were on board.
The Chief of the Pequots said the tribe was blindsided by the Mohegan agreement and its publicization. Accusations flew as the Pequots said the state was unduly pressuring them to reach consensus. Individuals even raised memories of a 17th Century war between the tribes.
Sides Overcome Acrimony to Find Agreement
Overcoming the hostile public tenor, it took the Pequots two additional weeks to find common ground. In exchange, the Pequot tribe got the government to lower the tax rate on new online casino revenues for five years.
The Connecticut gambling expansion agreement is comprehensive. Some of the key points include:
- Connecticut Lottery will operate up to 15 sports betting retail establishments.
- The Lottery will also have the right to an online sports betting skin.
- The Tribes can offer their own sportsbooks and online/mobile sports betting.
- The two Tribes will retain a monopoly on casino games within the state.
- The casinos can expand to offering iGaming anywhere within Connecticut’s border.
For the first five years, iGaming revenue will be taxed at 18%. Then the rate will rise to 20%. The new compact will run ten years and includes a five-year option for extension.
What’s Next For Connecticut Gambling Expansion?
As part of the Connecticut gambling expansion, the Connecticut Lottery has committed to opening new sports betting venues in at least Bridgeport and Hartford. The additional 13 retail locations can be spread around the state. The Lottery retains the right to license a sportsbook to any parimutuel betting operators, though no live tracks remain in Connecticut.
Sports wagering revenue has a lower tax rate than iGaming of 13.75%. The rate is the same whether the bet is placed in-person or online.
All parties released statements saying how proud they are of the deal. As one condition of the revised compact, a proposed tribal casino in East Windsor has been shelved. It is unclear if this casino would be economically viable under the new gambling regime.
New York and Massachusetts continue to bicker over whether to regulate sports betting. Meanwhile, Connecticut is hoping to reestablish its place as the premier New England gaming destination. It is possible the Lottery will be taking bets before fall’s football season.