Sports betting in Connecticut, while some distance away from legalization, has cleared a significant hurdle this week with Governor Ned Lamont and Mohegan Tribe Chairman James Gessner Jr announcing an agreement that would allow the state to modernize its gaming options.
The agreement would allow for the introduction of sports wagering and online gaming, a move that could potentially generate tens of millions of dollars in new revenue for the state, while keeping Connecticut competitive with gaming changes currently being offered or considered in neighboring states.
It also provides for the inclusion of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation as a partner in the effort to modernize the state’s gaming landscape.
Key components of the agreement include a 20% tax rate on new online gaming or igaming offerings and a 13.75% tax rate on sports wagering. The Connecticut Lottery would have the right to operate 15 retail sports betting locations, as well as operate an online sports betting skin and sub-license some of those locations to the state-licensed pari-mutuel operator.
The Lottery will also undertake new retail sports betting venues in Hartford and Bridgeport and a license agreement will be in place for 10 years with a five-year extension option.
Said Lamont: “This agreement represents months of hard work and dedication to getting a deal that’s best for the residents of Connecticut and moves our state forward when it comes to the future of gaming.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have such a devoted partner in these efforts like the Mohegan Tribe, as they have been open to negotiation, honest discussion, and a positive path forward that is beneficial for both their tribe and the State of Connecticut.”
Gessner added: “The Mohegan Tribe is proud to have reached this agreement with Governor Lamont and the State of Connecticut. This path will allow Connecticut to generate tax revenues from sports and online gaming that are competitive with other states, and help keep Connecticut with those states when it comes to growing our economy and benefiting the state budget. We’re thankful to Governor Lamont and his team, and we look forward to continued work with the General Assembly as this process continues.”
While the joint statement will be viewed as a major meeting of minds by industry observers, London-based operator Sportech – with 14 Winners Venues, an online wagering platform @ MyWinners.com, and two Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar locations in Connecticut – appears to be keeping a watching brief.
As reported by SBC Americas media partner SportsHandle on Monday, the firm had stated its case for an opportunity to be a part of any deal, but CEO Ted Taylor said at a hearing this week that Sportech had not been part of the conversation between the state and the tribes.
A statement on Sportech’s website responding to the development read: “Sportech, an international betting technology business, notes the announcement made by the State of Connecticut on 2 March 2021 in which it announced a proposal to expand gaming, specifically sports wagering and igaming in a deal with the Mohegan Tribe and the State Lottery.
“The proposal includes 15 retail sports betting locations awarded to the State Lottery with a right to sub-license some of those locations to Sportech Venues. Sportech notes that this announcement is somewhat contrary to the previous statements from the Governor. The group is seeking further clarification and will update the market in due course.”