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Officials change stance on gaming compact

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Tribal casinos await interstate online gaming approval June 02, 2014 7:13 PM by Ray Poirier

Tribal casinos await interstate online gaming approval Federal approval of interstate online gaming may not be close at hand but that hasn’t stopped Connecticut’s two tribal casino operators from being prepared.

Both Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun have launched websites so they can capitalize on interstate online gaming should Congress decide to pass a measure on the federal level.

As it stands, several bills have been introduced in Congress – some in favor and others opposed – to online gambling but no action has resulted. And, no action is expected during this calendar year, especially since November elections could change the makeup of one or both congressional houses.

Meanwhile, customers of Foxwoods can enjoy nearly every casino game on the Internet.

At Foxwoods, the players can buy credits and build up reward points for merchandise and hotel stays. But there is no cash betting.

Commenting on the Foxwoods no-cash Internet gaming activity, in an interview with the AP’s Michael Melia,, Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, owners of Foxwoods, said: “What we’re finding is that it’s actually a useful tool for building a database, getting our brand out there and connecting people to the property.”

Melia explained that Foxwoods launched its “online casino” in January, through a partnership with GameAccount Network, and Butler said about 50,000 users have set up accounts. Users can buy credits to play longer or gain access to exclusive games. The credits add to reward points for use at stores, hotels and restaurants at Foxwoods.

Bally Technologies Inc. (BYI) was tapped by Mohegan Sun in setting up an online poker site more than a year ago. It doesn’t sell credits for money, but users can compete for hotel stays and gift vouchers.

Mohegan Sun has found a strong interest in the site, said spokesman Chuck Bunnell, who added it has helped measure who likes to play and when.

Although New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada have set up intrastate online gaming sites, top officials in Connecticut haven’t shown any interest in expanding that state’s gaming menu.

But, if attitudes change in Washington, D.C., or even Connecticut, the tribal casinos will be prepared.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at RayPoirier@GamingToday.com.

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