Connecticut Governor, Tribes Reach Deal On Sports Betting At Casinos

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Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D) announced a deal this morning, paving the way for online gaming and sports betting at two casinos. 

Together with the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, we have reached an agreement that will allow for the modernization of gaming options available in Connecticut, including through sports wagering and online gaming,” Lamont tweeted, with links to specifics included in the deal. 

The tribes themselves echoed these sentiments. 

This agreement bolsters the state’s economic development and growth, and allows us to develop a stable economic foundation for the future of our tribal community,” said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which runs Foxwoods Casino. 

The Nitty Gritty

The next step is legislative approval. 

The deal, which had been in the works for months, specifies there will be an 18% tax rate on Connecticut online gambling during the first five years, followed by a 20% tax for the subsequent five years.

There will be a 13.75% tax on sports betting. The state’s lottery commission will have the authority to establish 15 retail sports betting locations throughout the state. The Connecticut Lottery will establish retail betting locations in Hartford and Bridgeport. 

Both tribes have agreed to cease development of a casino in East Windsor, Connecticut. 

“This [deal] will allow Connecticut to generate tax revenues from sports and online gaming that are competitive with other states, to the benefit of both state and local municipal budgets, as well as our tribe’s members,” said James Gessner Jr., chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, which operates Mohegan Sun. 

“We look forward to continued work with the General Assembly on this topic, especially the many dedicated legislators who have partnered with and supported Connecticut’s tribes throughout this process,” he added.

A Deal 4 Years In The Making

The Nutmeg State approved sports betting legislation in 2017. The two tribes, which have been running the casinos for more than 25 years, objected to some of the language feeling they held exclusive rights to online gaming and sports betting.  

Lamont has been working with the tribes ever since to iron out a deal. His budget this year indicated revenue from gaming so proponents took it as a sign things were moving along. 

Connecticut’s General Assembly convened on Jan. 6 and adjourns on June 9.  It is unclear when or what legislation will be enacted in this time frame.

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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