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This week, a deal was signed to modernise Connecticut’s casino activities, which would include the launch of sports betting and internet gaming.
Governor Ned Lamont, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Chairman Rodney Butler, and Mohegan Tribe Chairman James Gessner Jr have reached an agreement that is expected to bring the state tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue. It also seeks to keep Connecticut competitive with nearby states that give or are considering gaming.
Modernising the state’s gaming environment
In the attempt to modernise the state’s gaming environment, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation has also been included as a participant.
According to the latest modernisation proposal, new online commercial casino gaming (igaming) offerings will be charged at an 18 percent rate for the first five years, and at a 20 percent rate for at least the next five years. Sports betting will be taxed at a rate of 13.75 percent.
The Connecticut Lottery will be allowed to manage 15 retail sports betting sites, as well as an internet sports betting skin and sublicense locations to a state-licensed parimutuel operator. In Hartford and Bridgeport, the lottery will open additional retail sports betting locations.
The licencing deal is for ten years, with a five-year extension clause, and the Connecticut Lottery Corporation has plans to expand ilottery and Keno, including the selling of draw tickets online.
Meanwhile, both tribes have agreed to put a stop to the construction of a casino in East Windsor for the duration of the deal.
Said Lamont: “Connecticut is on the cusp of providing a modern, technologically advanced gaming experience for our residents, which will be competitive with our neighboring states. Our state’s tribal partners have worked with my administration thoughtfully, deliberately, and in a constructive fashion for the past few months, and we have achieved an agreement that is best for Connecticut residents and their respective tribal members.
“We will work to see it ratified and look forward to doing so through a collaborative effort, to include working with elected leaders in the General Assembly.”
Gessner Jr added: “The Mohegan Tribe is very thankful to our partners in government, both the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the State of Connecticut, for reaching collective agreement on a path forward for modernizing our state’s gaming entertainment industry.
“This 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. 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.”
Butler, speaking for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, said: “We’re proud of this landmark agreement with the State of Connecticut that cements a historic moment for our Tribal Nation. 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.
“We thank Governor Lamont, members of the southeastern delegation, the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, and the many members of the General Assembly who have supported us continually throughout this journey. We are grateful for their friendship and look forward to working together as this proposal moves forward.”
Although advocates of legal sports betting in Connecticut will celebrate this new growth, Sportech, the London-based operator of 14 Winners Venues, an online wagering site @ MyWinners.com, and two Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar locations in the state, is less optimistic.
Level playing field
Richard McGuire, the company’s CEO, replied to the news by saying: “Sportech supports expanded gaming in the state. However, federal and state law mandates a level playing field. Yesterday’s announcement does not appear to offer that level playing field. Connecticut consumers will be deprived of a healthy competitive betting marketplace and the Connecticut jobs that Sportech supports will be at risk.
“We continue our dialogue with the administration in pursuing gaming expansion that does not contravene laws and discriminate against not only our employees, but all Connecticut consumers.”