Connecticut is a major step closer to legalizing online gaming and sports betting.
Late last night, the Connecticut Senate passed House Bill 6451 — “An Act Concerning Gaming Agreements with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut” — by a vote of 28-6. The House of Representatives earlier approved the legislation 122-21.
HB 6451 allows Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) to amend the Class III gaming compacts the state has with its two federally recognized tribes. The statute seeks to allow the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to operate sports betting at their respective casino resorts, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, as well as offer internet gaming and mobile sports betting. A licensing process for daily fantasy sports operators is additionally included.
Once Lamont amends the tribal gaming compacts, the Native American contracts will be sent to the US Department of the Interior (DOI) for final approval. The federal agency has 45 days to rule on the amended gaming arrangements once received.
Lamont to Sign Bill
Connecticut’s two tribes aren’t the only winners in the gaming expansion package. The Connecticut Lottery will also be permitted in the sports betting game.
The lottery is allowed to conduct sports betting at up to 15 retail locations, plus online. The lottery will need to partner with an experienced third-party operator.
In exchange for the expanded gaming, the tribes and lottery will share 13.75 percent of their gross gaming revenue from sports betting with the state. For the tribes’ online casino operations, revenue will be taxed at 18 percent for the first five years, and then increase to 20 percent for the following five years.
The tribes must also contribute $500,000 annually to fund problem gambling programs.
Lamont celebrated the bill’s passage.
I want to congratulate and thank the Connecticut General Assembly for approving historic legislation, negotiated by my office, which modernizes Connecticut’s gaming landscape,” Lamont said. “I also want to thank our tribal partners, the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, for their constructive and collaborative efforts, both in negotiating the agreement and working through the details of this legislation.”
The first-term governor said the deal is in the best interests of the state and its citizens.
East Windsor Loses
During the tribes’ negotiations with the state regarding expanded gambling over the past several years, one major discussion was allowing the Mashantuckets and Mohegans to jointly build a satellite casino in East Windsor. The development was initially approved by the state in order to reduce gaming dollars from flowing across the border to MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.
The East Windsor casino — dubbed Tribal Winds — was abandoned in December after the tribes and Lamont moved forward with iGaming and sports betting. The law passed this week delays any off-reservation casino from being authorized for 10 years.
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