Connecticut tribal sports betting battle heats up
Should tribal gaming interests have an exclusive lock on sports betting and online gambling in Connecticut? That’s a question that Connecticut lawmakers and the Mohegan tribe are hashing out in a battle that’s questioned the once unquestionable exclusivity of the Mohegan’s gambling domain in the state.
At the core of the issue is the question of whether the Mohegan’s should be granted exclusive rights to the newly legalized Connecticut sports betting and online gambling markets. The Mohegans have long had exclusive rights to all gambling in the state and have paid a fortune for the privilege. Under the current arrangement, they pay a whopping 25 percent of gross revenue on slots to the state. That comes out to over $200 million into the state’s coffers each year.
Under the terms of a new bill, lawmakers would like to see sports betting offered at off track racing parlors and online gambling offered by the state lottery. This deal is supported by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, who clearly wants some extra lottery cash for the state. Not surprisingly, that arrangement is not going down well with the Mohegans, who say they’ll withhold payments to the state if anyone else offers gambling.
Max Reiss, Lamont’s communication director told the Connecticut Sun, “The governor is committed to a fair resolution that brings Connecticut’s gaming economy into the 21st century. He wants to sign a sports betting bill into law over the next few months.”
AS it stands, the two sides are likely to remain in a deadlock through the current legislative session and will likely leave the issue unsolved for another year.
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