Connecticut has been looking to launch both online casino gaming and sports betting for months, but the two Native American tribes and Governor Ned Lamont struggled to come to an agreement.
That all changed recently, and Lamont announced that new gaming compacts have been signed.
The Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation operate the two integrated casino resorts in Connecticut, but they can now take their business online. While these two tribes will be the only ones offering online and mobile casino gaming, sports betting can be offered by the state lottery as well.
The Connecticut Lottery will be able to license up to 15 retail sports betting locations, and it will also be able to offer online sports betting. That process will likely take months to sort out, but Connecticut is expected to get a large number of applicants for the license.
The Mohegan Tribe owns and operates the Mohegan Sun Casino, while the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe runs the Foxwoods Casino. These tribes have agreed to pay the state a gross gaming revenue tax of 18 percent for the first five years.
All sports betting revenue will be taxed at a rate of 13.75 percent, and it doesn’t matter if that revenue is generated online or in-person. That tax rate will be applied to any property that offers sports betting and should provide significant revenue to a state looking for relief.
Lamont is in his first term as Governor of Connecticut, and legalizing sports betting and iGaming was one of his top priorities. He estimates that tens of millions of dollars will be generated through these new industries, and he also praised the work of the Native American tribes in reaching this agreement.
The state legislature must still agree to approve the gaming compacts, and it must also be approved by the US Department of the Interior. Both of these steps are expected to happen, and these industries will likely launch at some point in 2021.
Looking to Steal Business From Massachusetts
There was a real sense of urgency in getting this deal done quickly, especially when it pertains to sports betting. The state of Massachusetts is also looking to legalize sports betting, but it was important for Connecticut to launch the industry first.
Massachusetts has a strong casino industry, and it has made life difficult on the two properties in the state of Connecticut. The MGM Resorts property located in Springfield is the biggest threat to Connecticut, as the casino sits just miles away from the border.
Allowing online casino gambling and sports betting should keep some of this business in the state as gamblers can now get in on the action from their homes. Connecticut is also expected to attract some residents from Massachusetts looking to bet on sports, especially for major sporting events.
Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have seen a startling trend in decreasing revenue over the past decade, but this should eliminate a major problem. It will take some time for these online gaming options to launch, but it’s unclear if or when Massachusetts will take the next step.