Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and the state’s two federally recognized tribes, the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots, have finally arrived on the same page regarding the legalization of sports betting and online gambling.
An agreement between the state’s top legislator and tribal leaders was announced on Wednesday, just a couple of weeks after Gov. Lamont and the Mohegan Tribe said they had reached a deal with slightly different terms.
The revised agreement now must be approved by the General Assembly in order to become effective. And if that happens, the two tribes will be able to provide sports betting and online casino services to Connecticut residents for at least ten years. Under the deal, the state Lottery will too be able to take bets on sports.
As it was the case with the original deal between the Governor and the Mohegan Tribe, Sportech, the state’s off-track betting vendor, would not be allowed to offer online wagering. Instead, the Lottery would be permitted to offer a sub-license to Sportech and the latter would be able to take wagers on sports at up to 15 sites around the state.
The gambling technology company said two weeks ago when the terms of the original agreement were revealed that it was mulling taking legal action. Being excluded from the sports betting effort would certainly prompt it to further contemplate the possibility to bring the matter to court.
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Mashantucket Pequot tribal leaders were pretty vocal about the agreement announced by Gov. Lamont and the state’s other tribe. Mashantucket Pequot tribal chairman Rodney Butler said that the fact his tribe was not mentioned in that first announcement, even though it was a party in the negotiations, was offensive.
The tribe said at the time that there was one financial point that it needed to discuss with the Governor’s office. That point was the 20% tax rate on online gaming the state proposed to collect from the two tribes. The Mohegans agreed to that rate, but the Mashantucket Pequots called for an 18% tax on the practice.
Under the latest version of the terms, the two tribes will pay an 18% tax in the first five years, and 20% for the next five years. Sports betting will be taxed at 13.75% on all wagers taken.
The Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots operate the state’s two land-based casinos. The two tribes have agreed to share a quarter of their revenues from slot machines in exchange for their exclusivity over casino gambling in the state.
They claim that sports betting constitutes a casino game which means they are entitled to wagering exclusivity.
As part of the deal, the tribes agreed to formally abandon a plan for a joint casino on non-reservation land in East Windsor. They previously put the project on hold indefinitely.
Source: “Mashantucket Pequots join Mohegans, agree to revised sports betting deal”, The CT Mirror, March 18, 2021
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