Gambling Legislation Updates in New England

First, an apology.  I have been under the weather for a few weeks and have not been able to keep up with my passion here at NETimeGambling.com.  To add  to my dilemma, for many of us in Music Education, March is the busiest month of the year, with trips, drama productions, concerts and state honors festivals all in the name of Music in our Schools Month. While I have loved the many staff members and students I have worked with, I am looking forward to more dedication to NETG as I am retiring from 41 years of teaching middle school music this June with many wonderful memories to take with me.

My sincerest apology for the lack of media and coverage concerning New England’s Casinos recently. Feeling better, I am now ready to continue the quality resource the you have grown to enjoy as NETG – NETimeGambling.com.

 

Robin (Binbin)

Now, as they say….”On with the show!…”


One-hundred and seventy-one years ago, the California Gold Rush was on! On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. Though he tried to keep it quiet, word spread and soon there was a surge in immigration to California from people hoping to strike it rich. It was the most famous gold rush in American history – until the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision to disapprove PASPA, allowing states to take control of sports betting authorization, has started a sports betting frenzy.

 

In the northeast, it’s one state stumbling over another trying to get to the finish line first – trying to find the new gold standard in casino gaming – sports betting. Long gone is the obsession with getting millennials through the casino doors.  Now, a new obsession exists that many states legislators think is the Holy Grail of Gaming – sports betting.

In New England, Rhode Island ventured out first with approved sports betting at Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel, with rousing success that caused all the surrounding states to rush into sports betting legislature.  Now it’s a race to see who can share that new found gold with the Ocean State. This is an update of that race.

For a related post, try:  New England Sports Betting Arrives – Rhode Island Twin River First in NE

It’s The Time of Year For Gambling Legislation

The number of gambling bills introduced to New England’s state legislatures hit an all-time high in February.  State by state, the new bills included:

CONNECTICUT

  1. Four bills were introduced, ranging from sports betting to new casinos.  They are: SB 11 – eliminate the federal requirement that’s stopping the Tribal Winds project in East Windsor from moving forward. Currently, the state needs approval from the Department of the Interior.
  2. SB 17 – allowing casino operators to conduct sports betting in person or online to anyone within the state 21 or older. If that bill is accepted, the Connecticut Lottery would also be allowed to offer an online keno product through an agreement with the two tribes. This could violate the state agreement with the tribes.
  3. Another bill to the house would form a state gaming commission and create a competitive bidding process for a new resort casino. The tribes said this would violate the compact.
  4. A second house bill would see the launch of the Connecticut Gaming Commission and would authorize a competitive bidding process for an integrated casino resort in the Connecticut city of Bridgeport. MGM is behind the bill and has been trying to get it approved for a couple of years.

MASSACHUSETTS – Gov. Charlie Baker proposed to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts. Baker’s proposal would allow both licensed casinos in Massachusetts and online platforms like DraftKings to build their own sports betting operations, and would limit gamblers to bets on professional sports, excluding collegiate and high school athletics, as well as Esports. Baker’s bill would give oversight of sports betting to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which would vet license applicants and enforce consumer protections, such as the prohibition on anyone under 21 from placing a bet. Some proposals floating around the Legislature would not allow mobile platforms to take part in sports betting, but instead require them to contract with a physical establishment like a casino.

RHODE ISLAND – Rhode Island could have online sports betting apps as soon as this year. Senate Dominick Ruggerio submitted legislation to allow mobile sports wagering through the Twin River properties. The bill contains a provision requiring initial, in-person registration for a mobile account at a Twin River property. Bettors then would be able to wager from anywhere in the state.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Gov. Chris Sununu voiced his support for legislation that would make betting on sports games legal under the supervision of the state’s lottery commission. The bill, HB480, would legalize betting on professional sports and the majority of Division I college sports. Games involving New Hampshire colleges would be excluded. “Opening New Hampshire to legalized sports betting would bring in more than $10 million in additional revenue,” the governor’s office said. “Ten percent of revenue would be earmarked for services to support treatment and prevention of gambling addiction in the state. Other revenue would be put toward the state’s education system.”

MAINE – The Portland Press Herald reports the state legislature will consider several bills that would sanction and regulate sports betting, including:

  1. Benjamin Collins, the representative from Portland, is sponsoring a bill that will help Maine’s native tribes, and believes a compromise measure between various bills will come together. Such a bill would include sports betting legislation for casinos, off-track betting parlors, harness racing and tribes.
  2. Senate President Troy Jackson is sponsoring another two bills that would cover online and mobile gaming. His bills would prohibit betting on college sports, minor league teams as well as youth sports.

VERMONT – No legislation was filed in 2018, though a fantasy sports bill was proposed. The bill died in committee. NETG doesn’t expect it to happen in the Green Mountain State, at least in the next two years.


It does look like this latest gambling obsession is going to stick around.  It will bring all sorts of traffic to the brick-and-mortar casinos, especially those large enough to build sports books that will cater to a wide variety of sports betters.  Large casinos continue to depend on gambling less as the main revenue with  entertainment, dining, and conventions taking on more of the burden.  States across the country are salivating at yet another way gambling can give a quick fix to their financial woes.

I think we are seeing just the tip of gold nugget…..

Binbin

“War For The Soar” – The “Lock It In” Challenge at Mohegan Sun

Today’s guest post is from NETG gambling friend Joe “Reload” Freda. Joe has supported NETimeGambling from the very beginning. Joe brings tried and true tips on maintaining a high level of gambling. Joe has been an avid gambling writer for the past two decades, covering casino and sports wagering.  Freda can be reached at joe_freda@yahoo.com or through Twitter (@ReloadSports).

Introduction

After a recent rest from visiting Connecticut’s casinos, I was hit up with a unique “Lock It In” promotion from Mohegan Sun that was worth exploring.  The offer designates a specific four-day period where your current Momentum player status tier can remain achieved without further visits needed.  In my case, it would take earning 500 points through play over the four days to lock in Soar status, which is the highest published level of Mohegan Sun’s five tiers.

Mohegan Sun's Momentum Players Club

Mohegan Sun’s Momentum Players Club

The Soar status normally takes 4000 status points over six months to clinch keeping it for half of the next year.  Even with scattered double or triple status promotional days, this is still quite an undertaking for players of all bet sizes.  I recall only reaching it once before a few years ago, but since then have had the second-highest level of Ascend.

In addition to being offered this chance, the same four-day period also featured several overlapping comps to further enhance the visit.  I was offered a $500 free bet and $300 of Players Perks (use it or lose it comp dollars), as well as a coveted Sky Suite to stay in.  While gambling is not on the minds of many as the holiday season approaches, it can be a promising time to strike with casino offers!

The challenge in obtaining 500 points over this span would be a hefty one needing the right planning and bankroll management.  I ended up only having two of the days free enough to visit and would be looking at some lengthy action without going bust.

Early struggles in my “War For The Soar”

In trying to conserve for a long haul, I opted to start with some commission-free Pai Gow Poker.  The low variance of this gaming option and pushes happening at over a 40% rate can make it your best chance for money to last.  You can also set your hands at times to more conservatively play for a push instead of going for a full win.

My $500 free bet won early and provided some breathing room, but the rest of my first night was a downward spiral of losses every hour.  I even missed out on a Royal Flush progressive payout of $2900 by not ponying up the game’s $5 side bet. While that may sound disappointing, playing an extra $5 a hand through a longer trip like this would have lost back almost all of that.

I ended up lasting until 5am in that session for 188 status points, but was down 75% of what I came to Uncasville’s mothership with.  It was back to the Sky Suite for some rest and room service while thinking through strategy for the rest of the visit.

“Soar-ing” back and enjoying the ride

As the next day of action approached, I opted to tighten risk even further and split my wager into two hands of Pai Gow.  This would allow my average bet to still be high enough in getting the points needed, but lessen the chance of sharper drops money-wise.

I knew it would take a lot of time but my luck was holding serve well out of the gate.  Despite playing two hands normally making it tough to surge upward, I managed to double my stake after the first couple of hours.  Even with more chips to work with, I remained conservative in the betting style so I could still last long.

As the clock struck 2am, I reached a good stopping mark where I had won back 70% of what was lost the night before.  I took a break to check status points knowing there was only a four-hour window left in the “Lock It In” period.  Thankfully, I reached a total of 495 points and just needed a few more!

I finished the night with some video poker in the “Hall Of Lost Tribes” and curled up to a “9/6 Jacks Or Better” machine.  In this mini-session worth seven status points, the gods of “quads” came through with four of a kind twice.  It felt nice to end with some extra winnings after all I had been through.

The next day, I received an e-mail from Mohegan Sun mentioning that my Soar status would be extended thanks to achieving 502 points.  I also enjoyed using the rest of my “Players Perks” in picking up an Under Armor hoodie from Denali and a couple of hats from the soon-closing Margaritaville restaurant.

Although I ended up losing about 10% of my bankroll over the trip, the overall experience and comps achieved made this a memorable one.  I felt five-star service the whole time and will be looking forward to another six months of Soar benefits. That’s the Mohegan Sun way!

 

Trip Report from Joe Freda – Paragon Resort Casino, LA.

The Tunica-Biloxi Gaming Authority, the owner and operator of the Paragon Casino Resort, retained Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority (MTGA) to provide gaming, hospitality and entertainment consulting services to its Marksville facility back on April 30, 2016.  Paragon’s owning tribe. The Tunica-Biloxi people, first appeared in the Mississippi Valley. In the late 1700s, they settled near Marksville, where they were skilled traders and entrepreneurs. Today, the Tribe has more than 1,200 members throughout the United States, primarily in Louisiana, Texas and Illinois. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe received federal recognition in 1981 for its reservation within the boundaries of Louisiana. The tribe owns and operates the Paragon Casino Resort, the largest employer in Central Louisiana.

Our friend and guest writer Joe Freda of Reload Sports recently visited the resort in Louisiana and was willing to share a trip report with us, since New England’s Mohegan tribe provides so many services to the propertyJoe has written for us before, as in his  on New England Blackjack Report report. A little about Joe….

Joe Freda has been an avid gambler and writer for the past two decades, covering casino and sports wagering.  His efforts include several years of articles at Sportsbook Review and Don Best Sports, while enjoying trips for blackjack, craps, and poker throughout North and Central America. Freda can be reached at joe_freda@yahoo.com or through Twitter (@ReloadSports).


Introduction

After a few months away from the casino scene, my host at Mohegan Sun hit me up with an offer I could not refuse.  A group of players were being invited for a private charter flight down to the Paragon Casino Resort in Louisiana, which Mohegan Sun partly manages.  We would receive all travel expenses and dining comped, while also getting a free entry in a $50,000 slot tournament.

Out of the snow – Into the south

My journey started off with a challenge of a snowstorm hitting Connecticut the day before our flight to Louisiana was scheduled.  I opted to then stay at Mohegan Sun for two nights prior to leaving in order to not have travel issues.  While this was a bit dangerous in adding more nights of gambling to the mix, I was able to hold my own in some wild swings at baccarat and Pai Gow Poker.

As the morning arrived for our group to leave for the airport, there I was finishing up an all-nighter of play in the Casino of the Earth.  I headed for our bus with my luggage and quickly fell asleep as we made our way to Bradley Airport in Hartford.  We went through some security screening and then boarded the private plane.

It took about three hours of flying to reach Alexandria, Louisiana where we got on buses that took us to nearby Marksville.  Arriving at the Paragon, our group was treated to a welcome mixer with appetizers and drinks as we got situated.  Being without sleep the night before, I took an extended nap and did not get any play in that evening.

The next day I began making the gambling rounds, starting with a free $15 play used in the 88 Fortunes slot machine.  I ran the credits through and cashed out $17 of real money, while then heading off for the casino’s high-limit room.  The crew nicely had that area entirely reserved for our group, expecting big blackjack and baccarat action from us.

I started off with a few hands of mini-baccarat along with an Asian gentleman on the trip (Mr. Zheng).  Betting banker on every hand like I usually do helped me come out ahead a few black chips after one shoe.  Then I got to sit down for some double-deck blackjack, which is a real treat as it is not offered very much in the northeast.  The rules were also among the best in the country you will find, allowing double downs after splits and the dealer staying on soft 17’s.

After a long day of blackjack, it was time to indulge in some dining at Big Daddy E’s Cajun grill.  I enjoyed some barbequed ribs and a couple of locally brewed beers.  Then I hit a couple of shops finding out I had generously earned $350 in comp dollars.  I bought some nice golf shirts and Black Clover hats, while treating my companion to some new shoes and a Vera Bradley bag.

The next day was our $50,000 slot tournament and unfortunately my score was among the lowest.  Several patrons in my group made out handsomely with the top 25 finishers being paid some plentiful slot play, and the winner receiving $25,000 in cash.  I did manage to hit for $200 on the Fu Nan Fu Nu slot machine while waiting around and that was at least a nice consolation.  It was my hope to try some video poker as well, but the pay tables looked a bit subpar.

I enjoyed one last dinner at the Legendary Steakhouse with an excellent filet mignon and sides big enough to share.  Soon the morning came and it was time for the return journey to Connecticut.  The trip back went well and I opted to stay another night at Mohegan Sun upon arrival to rest up in a Sky Suite.

Overall, I give the Paragon a thumbs up and feel it will be going places with Mohegan Sun’s management behind it.  The staff there took our group’s arrival seriously and you can tell it was all hands on deck to make it a success.  I also thought the experience of a private charter trip was very nice and well organized.  If your host gives you the chance, I advise taking the plunge!