Governor Ned Lamont has completed compact amendment negotiations with Connecticut’s second tribe, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, paving the way for a legal sports betting and iGaming market in the state. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The final piece of the puzzle
In early March, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont sealed an agreement with the Mohegan Tribe for the introduction of sports wagering and iGaming at its casino. Although a landmark moment for the state’s gambling market, the deal caused controversy due to the lack of a similar agreement with Connecticut’s second tribe.
On Thursday, the office of Gov. Lamont announced he had struck a second deal with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Mirroring the first agreement, the Mashantucket Pequots compact amendment allows the tribe to offer retail and online sports wagering, as well as online gaming at its Foxwoods Resort casino.
an agreement that is best for Connecticut residents and their respective tribal members.”
Commenting on the news, Ned Lamont said both tribes cooperated with his administration “thoughtfully, deliberately, and in a constructive fashion.” He described the amendment as “an agreement that is best for Connecticut residents and their respective tribal members.”
The compacts now require the approval of the Connecticut General Assembly. If passed before adjournment in June, Connecticut could see a gambling expansion in 2021.
What do the agreements include?
In a statement released Thursday, the office of Gov. Ned Lamont confirmed the details of the two compact amendments. It spoke of the potential for “tens of millions of dollars in new revenue” for Connecticut as a result of the deal, allowing the state to compete with the gambling markets of its neighbors.
an 18% iGaming tax for the first five years
One of the main results of the Mashantucket Pequots negotiations was an amendment to online casino tax. Instead of a fixed rate of 20% agreed by Mohegan, both operators will now pay an 18% iGaming tax for the first five years. This will then increase to 20% for at least five years after that. For online and retail sport wagering, the operators will pay tax of 13.75%.
Notably, the agreement does not permit the two tribes to hold a monopoly over sports wagering. Instead, the Connecticut Lottery can operate 15 retail sports betting locations, in addition to operating one online sports betting skin. The lottery will also set up two new sports betting venues in Hartford and Bridgeport.
The agreement lasts for ten years with the option of a five-year extension at the end of that period. The two tribes have also agreed to halt development of a joint satellite casino in East Windsor during the term of the deal.
Former Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed legislation in June 2017 which paved the way for the state’s tribes to begin construction of a new satellite casino just south of the Connecticut-Massachusetts border. The governor approved the casino in the hope it could compete with a new $960m MGM-owned casino in Massachusetts. So far, no construction has begun.
The Mashantucket now satisfied
When news first broke of Gov. Lamont’s deal with the Mohegan Tribe earlier this month, the Mashantucket Pequots raised objection to the announcement, deeming it premature. Members of the eastern Connecticut legislative delegation even penned a letter to the governor informing him they could not support what they described as an “incomplete deal.”
Mashantucket Pequot chair Rodney Butler was at the forefront of this opposition. He described Lamont’s decision to announce the agreement with just one tribe as “extremely disrespectful.”
cements a historic moment”
However, now Lamont has sealed a deal with both tribes, Butler has moved past the tensions raised over the previous few weeks. In a joint statement with the governor, Butler expressed pride over the “landmark agreement,” which he said “cements a historic moment” for the tribe. He also pointed to the financial benefits for the state, thanking Lamont among others for their cooperation.