Best Interests: Connecticut Governor Lists Online Gambling on 2022 Budget Assessment, Confirms New Negotiations
The Governor of the US state of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, has confirmed in his most recent budget address that state regulators are in discussions with the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan tribes to help push forward a bill on online casino gambling and sports betting.
Democratic governor Mr. Lamont is extremely confident that a deal will soon be reached. He’s so confident, in fact, that he has included $50 million in revenue from the expected online gambling platforms in the state’s 2022-2023 budget.
“Our neighboring states are moving forward with sports betting, and iGaming and Connecticut should not leave these opportunities for other states to benefit from our inaction”Mr. Lamont
“I am submitting legislation which reflects what I believe to be the best bet in ending this stalemate of inaction in a way which is in the best interest for the entire state,” he finished.
The Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Nation are currently the only licensed land-based gambling providers in the state. They run the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos, respectively.
Each operator commits 25% of their yearly slot revenues to the state’s coffers – totaling some $430 million in 2006. However, revenues have fallen fairly consistently since then, pulling in about $254 million in 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, seen revenues plummet even further to around $164 million in 2020.
Due to the minimum payout clause associated with the tax legislation, Foxwoods ended the 2020 tax year having to pay $700,000 out of their own holdings to reach the minimum amount.
All of this means Mr. Lamont is looking for new ways to revitalize interest in gambling – and also kickstart the state’s wider economy.
Local media last reported on the issue back in January, when Mr. Lamont told the press he was confident of a deal – but still “knocked on wood.”
Both sides appear to be confident of a deal now, with Foxwoods recently announcing its online partnership with national operator DraftKings – despite no legislation yet being inked.
The $50 million target for year one revenue is also considered realistic by the casinos. That projected income is “very much achievable through an agreement with the tribal nations,” said James Gessner Jr. of the Mohegan Tribe.
Connecticut is an attractive prospect to online gambling operators, so it likely won’t be difficult for Mohegan Sun to find a willing national online provider to partner with.
Whether any other online gambling operators would be allowed to operate in the state under the draft legislation is not yet known. The exclusivity of any deal to the two tribes and their partners was apparently a sticking point in negotiations.
They’d certainly have no shortage of applicants for an online-only license.
Connecticut has a relatively small population and size, but it ranks high for average household income ($78,833) and has had legal casino gambling at physical locations for over 15 years.
Whatever the outcome of negotiations and the form of the new legislation in Connecticut and anywhere else around the world, we’ll keep you updated at online.casino/news.