Connecticut Reaches Deal with Mohegan Sun for Sports Betting

Legal Connecticut reaches deal with Mohegan Sun for sports betting
Mar 11, 2021 05:03Tim Ronaldson

Connecticut is the latest state to make inroads with sports betting.

Governor Ned Lamont announced that the state has come to an agreement with the Mohegan Tribe, which runs the Mohegan Sun casino, to increase gaming options. Now, the tribal-run casino will offer sports betting and online wagering.

Included in the deal is a tax rate of 13.75% on sports wagering and 20% on any new online gaming. It's a step forward to bringing online sports betting to another state close to New York City.

Agreement Affects More Than Just Mohegan Sun

Hidden under the headline of Connecticut's deal with the Mohegan Sun is the fact that there will be retail sports betting locations opening up in the state. In total, the Connecticut Lottery will have the ability to open 15 of them. Some will be in Hartford and others in Bridgeport.

This agreement will cover 10 years, with the option to extend it for another five years.

James Gessner Jr., the chairman of the Mohegan Tribe, applauded the new agreement recently. He said in a statement:

"The Mohegan Tribe is proud to have reached this agreement with Governor Lamont and the State of Connecticut. This path will allow Connecticut to generate tax revenues from sports and online gaming that are competitive with other states, and help keep Connecticut with those states when it comes to growing our economy and benefitting the state budget."

Connecticut is in a rather unique position geographically when it comes to sports gambling. Massachusetts is working on approving a sports gambling bill. New York offers it at upstate casinos, but is also working to expand online gambling.

New Jersey, Rhode Island and New Hampshire are relatively close -- depending on the part of the state -- and both of those states offer online sports betting.

This makes it very important for Connecticut to be progressive and work on a sports betting bill of their own. Otherwise, they could lose a significant amount of business to surrounding states.

Deal Still Needs Agreement from Other Tribe

The agreement isn't yet completed, though, because it needs a sign-off from the other tribe in Connecticut -- the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

The confusion for many outside of the state is what the Connecticut Lottery has to do with the two tribes. It's a unique arrangement, actually.

The two tribes have the exclusive rights to offer casino gambling under an old compact that was negotiated with the state of Connecticut. For gaining that exclusive right, the tribes provide the state with 25% of revenue from slot machines.

As a result of this compact, the two tribes have to sign off on any expansion of gambling plans that Connecticut has. This, then, brings us to why there's still a hold-up -- and why the state needs the tribes' permission, in essence, to open retail sportsbooks of its own.

Rodney Butler, who serves as the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation's chair, said they haven't agreed to the deal just yet. However, he said they are "literally on the one-inch line" when it comes to negotiations.

The sticking point now is simply "a rounding effort" regarding revenue that may be minor to the state budget, but it's crucial to his tribe's future, Butler said. As such, the deal will still await final signature from both tribes.

If and when that does happen, the next steps are a little unclear at this point. Most states have to then sketch out the laws that will guide the rules of sports betting, though it seems much of that much be in the tribes' hands in this case.

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Tim Ronaldson
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Tim Ronaldson is a writer, blogger and marketer. He loves all things sports, especially covering the sports betting industry. He joined the AmericaGambles Team 2020 and is mainly responsible for columns and extensive reportage articles.
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