No 'free play' for Conn. tribes

Sep 8, 2009 5:06 PM
Industry Insider by Ray Poirier |

It appears that the Connecticut state officials have been interfering with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, operators of the Foxwoods Resorts, and Mohegan Tribe, owners of the Mohegan Sun.

After reviewing the recent promotions staged by the two casinos, Atty. Gen. Richard Blumenthal and the state Division of Special Revenue announced that they wanted the state’s 25 percent share from the "free play" given to the players.

Even though no money changed hands during the "free play" promotions, said Blumenthal, the state was still owed the money for the transactions. He said the tribes had agreed to pay the state $25 million to compensate for the promotions.

The slot machines during "free play" promotions "were used to gamble as a substitute for actual cash. It is in effect money that people would otherwise spend out of their own pockets so, in effect, they are wagering and it is effectively revenue," he said.

And, on another matter, Blumenthal said he was looking into the 1 percent sales tax that Foxwoods has begun charging at both its facility and the adjoining MGM Grand casino.

The Pequots said they now charge a 1 percent "tribal tax" in addition to the state’s 6 percent sales tax.

Blumenthal now wants to know whether that additional tax is legal. Also, he questions whether the two taxes must be identified separately on sales slips.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Ray Poirier