It’s one big happy family again in the Nutmeg state. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s office and tribal leaders of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal nations cleared a key legislative decision recently. Last week, Gov. Lamont’s administration announced an agreement with both tribes on a gambling expansion plan. The plan would lead to sports wagering and online gambling. Many now believe the new agreement will give Connecticut a distinct advantage. iGaming Will Put Connecticut On Top In New New England.
Related Post – the Ongoing Saga of Sports Betting in New England
The Process and The Players
So, What’s Next?
The US Department of Interior must now approve the go-ahead before bringing online gambling and sports gambling into the state. That should take about 60-to-90 days to get final federal approval. Once approved, the forecast is for quick implementation with all concerning parties – Mohegans, Pequots, CT Lottery.
The most ambitious forecast is for implementation by the end of the year. Connecticut would be the first New England state with both legal sports betting and online casino games.
“The goal is to be placing bets on sports by this NFL season,” said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
From a technology perspective, both tribes are ready to launch iGaming in Connecticut. Foxwoods agreed with DraftKings to roll out wagering in the state. Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) has signed an agreement with Kambi Group to provide online and on-property betting products.
What is iGaming?
iGaming or online gaming is wagering money or some other value on the outcome of an event or a game, using the internet. The iGaming activities include poker, online casinos, sports betting, etc.; the largest share of the market is made up of casino games and sports betting.
The ability to bet using a mobile device outside the sportsbook has been a key addition to sports betting in Rhode Island. But the ability to play casino games with real money anywhere in the state puts Connecticut On Top In New New England. While legal sports betting brings more gamblers through the doors, iGaming provides a huge financial benefit.
Five states have legalized iGaming to date: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and Nevada. As of March 24th, Michigan is set to launch iGaming and sports betting as the 6th state.
Basics of the Agreement
“I want the Legislature to move this thing forward as fast as we can – a good clean bill, simple and ready to go. I think we have some folks down at the Department of Interior ready to move this along… “Why not? Let’s get going for this fall.”Ned Lamont, Governor of CT
This agreement has been added to a now amended state pact that gave Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino exclusive gambling rights in Connecticut for almost thirty years. Here are specifics of the agreement:
- It will allow the Connecticut Lottery, in cooperation with both tribal entities, to run sports betting,
- Under the agreement, the CT government will tax all online casino gaming, including online poker, at 18% for the first five years before increasing to 20% for the following five years.
- All sports betting revenue will be taxed at 13.75%. The Connecticut Lottery will have the right to operate 15 retail onsite locations and one online sportsbook. Two of the retail locations will be located in Hartford and Bridgeport.
- Both tribes also agreed to pause the construction of their joint casino Tribal Winds proposed in East Windsor, CT, for the next ten years.
- the tribes would be able to develop a casino in Bridgeport (an enterprise neither tribe wants to undertake)
- Sportech, licensed by the state to offer off-track betting, would be licensed by the CT Lottery for sports betting in brick-and-mortar locations, not online.
iGaming Will Put Connecticut On Top In New New England
The Benefits of the Deal
Mark Pazniokas of the CTMirror, reported, “If approved by the General Assembly, not only would sports betting be legal, but every smartphone and computer would be a portal to wagering on sports, playing casino games, and purchasing CT Lottery tickets. The lottery, whose contributions to the state coffers continue to grow as the casino revenues shrink, would be allowed to offer sports betting, along with the tribes.”
The announcement will pressure other New England states to push legislation. All states, even Vermont, are currently involved in sports wagering legislative talks. All will be competing with iGaming in Connecticut.
Summary – iGaming Will Put Connecticut On Top
Under the old state gaming pact, the tribes pay the state of Connecticut 25% of gross slots profits. This arrangement has produced more than $8 billion for the state since the tribal casinos opened in the 1990s.
Both tribal leaders said they’re hopeful for another important benefit of this agreement. This legislation will lead to the return of thousands of employees laid off over a year ago. The two resorts each have about 3,000 workers currently back on the job. Before COVID-19, each had about 5,000 employees. It should help to bring those employees back.
Connecticut will be back on top, offering more to its residents than just two fabulous casinos. And hopefully, those casinos will find ways to flourish again.