Connecticut Tribal Compact Amendment Paves Way for Legal Sports Betting, iGaming

  • Gov. Lamont announced the deal Tuesday, allowing Mohegan Sun sports betting and iGaming
  • The ten-year agreement includes a tax rate of 10% for iGaming and 13.75% for sports wagering 
  • The Mashantucket Pequot tribe is nearing a similar compact amendment for its Foxwoods casino
  • Elsewhere, Nebraska and Virginia have seen updates to their own sports betting legislation
A close up of the Connecticut flag
The Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut has agreed to a compact amendment which permits sports wagering and online gaming at its Mohegan Sun casino. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Update, March 3, 2021: 17 members of the eastern Connecticut legislative delegation have penned a letter to Governor Lamont informing him that they cannot support an “incomplete deal” that does not consider the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. They are pushing for a full agreement between the governor and the state’s two tribes by Sunday.

Mashantucket Pequots chair Rodney Butler has expressed his disappointment at Lamont’s “extremely disrespectful” announcement of the gambling agreement with just one tribe on board.

Lamont secures his deal

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has struck a deal with the Mohegan Tribe to permit sports wagering and iGaming at its Mohegan Sun casino.

Gov. Lamont announced that both parties had agreed terms to the deal on Tuesday. The amendment to the Mohegan Tribe’s Class III gaming compact establishes a framework for the gambling expansion, including revenue-sharing details.

This agreement represents months of hard work”

Commenting on the historic moment, Lamont described the Mohegan Tribe as a “devoted partner” in his campaign to expand the state’s gambling market. “This agreement represents months of hard work and dedication to getting a deal that’s best for the residents of Connecticut,” he announced.

Despite finalizing the Mohegan deal, Lamont is yet to agree on a compact amendment with the state’s second tribe, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

A closer look at the amendment

During the Tuesday announcement, Lamont shared some details regarding the new tribal compact amendment. The deal covers a period of ten years, but there is an option for a five-year extension at the end-date.

Under the conditions of the new agreement, Mohegan Sun will be able to offer both retail and online sportsbooks, in addition to iGaming. The deal sets a tax rate for online gaming of 20%, while 13.75% of sports wagering revenue will go to the state.

In his budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023, Gov. Lamont included $50m in revenue from newly legalized gambling markets, including sports betting, iGaming and online lottery.

The state lottery will also have the right to operate 15 retail sports betting locations, in addition to one online skin. The lottery will also establish new sports betting venues in Bridgeport and Hartford. These locations are both at least an hour away from Mohegan’s casino.

Mashantucket soon to follow suit

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation owns and operates Connecticut’s second land-based casino, Foxwoods. Despite securing a compact agreement with Mohegan, Gov. Lamont has so far been unable to secure a similar deal with the Mashantucket Pequot.

one remaining financial point to negotiate

That said, speaking at a Joint Public Safety and Security Committee meeting on Tuesday, Mashantucket Pequot chairman Rodney Butler expressed hope for an imminent deal. He said there is still one remaining financial point to negotiate, but described the tribe as “literally on the one-inch line” of signing a revised compact.

Butler was skeptical of Lamont’s decision to announce a deal with Mohegan prior to securing the agreement with his own tribe. He said: “This is a three-party deal and it takes all three parties for it to move forward.” However, he still expressed optimism over the negotiations, insisting that the final deal would be successful for the state of Connecticut.

Other sports betting bills progress

Connecticut is not the only state to have seen a legal sports betting update in the past few days. Sports wagering bills in Nebraska and Virginia recently progressed through state legislature.

On Monday, the Nebraska General Affairs Committee passed new gambling legislation, setting limits for the state’s future sports betting market in the process. The committee decided to merge two gambling bills, LB 560 and LB 561. Together, they set the framework for casino gambling at the state’s licensed horse racetracks, also opening the door for sports wagering at the venues.

the legislation limits sports betting to designated areas of casinos

The committee decided to prohibit collegiate wagering on Nebraska-based teams, in addition to betting on athletes under the age of 18 in international sporting events. Additionally, the legislation limits sports betting to designated areas of casinos, instead of anywhere on a racetrack property.

Meanwhile, two bills clarifying the details of Virginia’s already active sports betting market have made it through the Senate. They are now just awaiting two signatures before they reach the governor’s desk.

The bills clear up some grey areas in Virginia’s sports betting legislation. This includes a new policy permitting betting on the Olympic games. The legislation also makes clear that mobile licenses for casinos will not count towards the cap of 12 mobile-only-licenses on offer. In turn, this increases the number of sports betting operators that can join the market.