In his budget address, Governor Ned Lamont reiterated his support for the legalization of sports betting and online gaming on Wednesday and did not provide details on how this will be achieved.
He tabled a bill just stating that he had the authority to amend the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes’ existing gambling agreements with the state or new contracts with one or both tribes relating to “the operation of sports betting, esports” organize and daily fantasy competitions both on and off tribal countries as well as online casino games and online keno.
Lamont’s proposed budget is $ 47.3 million from such an expansion of gambling in fiscal 2023, the second year of its two-year spending plan.
“The governor firmly believes that we must recognize the development of the various markets and react accordingly in order to ensure the competitiveness of our state and offer our citizens opportunities,” the proposal said. “In addition, our state has a long and fruitful partnership with the two tribal nations in our state and has sought to build on that partnership through the introduction of sports games and online casino games. Connecticut shouldn’t leave these opportunities to other states. Our neighbors are legislating to do so and we have to keep pace to modernize our gaming industry. “
No new light has been shed on how the tribes’ claim to have the exclusive right to provide sports betting and online gaming is resolved. Both Sportech Venues, the state’s off-track betting company, and Connecticut Lottery Corp. have campaigned for part of the campaign.
“These questions are being discussed,” said Melissa McCaw, secretary of the State Office of Policy and Management, during a virtual press conference following Lamont’s address. She said the projected gaming revenue of $ 47.3 million is what sports betting on and off the trunks’ reservations and online casino games is expected to generate.
Under their existing agreements, the Tribes, the respective owners of Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, contribute 25% of their casinos’ slot machine revenue to the state in order to obtain exclusive rights to operate casino games.
State Senator Cathy Osten, the Sprague Democrat who drafted a bill asking the governor to authorize the tribes to provide sports betting and online gaming, as well as giving away online ticket sales, said she was Disappointed by Lamont’s suggestion described as a “placeholder”.
Representatives from the two tribes said there may be an agreement with the governor.
“… Our collective teams have been working together for weeks to develop a proposal that will treat all parties fairly and work with both tribal councils, the legislature and the Home Office,” Mashantucket chairman Rodney Butler wrote in an email. “The bill released today by the governor describes at a high level all of the key initiatives on the table as the teams work through the details. I believe the governor’s efforts today reinforce his commitment to modernizing Connecticut’s gambling economy and creating a meaningful new source of income for the benefit of all of our great citizens. “
Chuck Bunnell, the Mohegans’ chief of staff, said representatives from the tribes and the governor’s office recently began communicating daily, including during holidays and weekends, sometimes several times a day.
“The Mohegan leadership is encouraged by the commitment of all governments involved and hopes we come to an outcome that will benefit all of our voters,” he said.
James Gessner Jr., chairman of Mohegan, said the $ 47.3 million Lamont allocated in the second year of his budget proposal was “very accessible through an agreement with tribal nations.”
Ted Taylor, President of Sportech Venues, did not comment directly on the governor’s budget proposal. A spokeswoman for Connecticut Lottery Corp. referred inquiries to the governor’s office.