As reported by several local news outlets, the two tribal casino operators in the state of Connecticut are at odds with Ned Lamont who serves as the state’s Governor. The biggest issue concerns who should be granted necessary licenses to operate sports betting services in the state.
According to one report released by The Connecticut Mirror news outlet, the two tribal casino operators in question here are the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe which are responsible for the Foxwoods Resort Casino venue and the Mohegan Sun venue respectively. The two tribal casino operators want to add sports betting activities within their facilities to stay in the game and compete with competitor facilities that offer such activities to their customers in the neighboring states of New York and Rhode Island.
The Senate Bill 21 Proposed by the State’s Senator Cathy Osten
The same news outlet also shared that the federally-recognized tribes are also supporting recently proposed legislation which is backed up by the state’s Senator Cathy Osten. This proposed legislation would give the two federally-recognized tribes exclusivity over sports betting services which are doubtlessly coming to the state soon. This measure in particular known as Senate Bill 21 would also give the tribes the sole license and right to operate iGaming activities in the state of Connecticut.
Senate Bill 21 would also grant the two tribal casino operators in the state the necessary rights to open a casino facility in Bridgeport as well as offer online sports betting and online casino activities via mobile devices and the Internet. Nonetheless, the state’s Governor Mr. Lamont appears to be favoring a series of other rival proposals known as House Bill 5189 and House Bill 5168 as reported by The Connecticut Mirror.
These legislative proposals which are favored by the state’s Governor would legalize sports betting activities across the state, but they will also allow the state’s Lottery Corporation as well as licensed, regulated off-track sports betting entity Sportech to join the two federally-recognized tribal entities as main operators of such activities in the state.
Governor Working on Finding Compromise
In order to find some kind of compromise which would work for every entity included, the state’s Governor Mr. Lamont decided to hold a private meeting with officials from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe several days ago. However, the two entities were unable to reach and kind of consensus according to The Connecticut Mirror.
The newspaper revealed that the tribes were claiming that the House Bill 5189 and House Bill 5168 proposals which are supported by the state’s Governor would doubtlessly violate their gaming compacts from 1994 as well as force them to initiate withholding their slot revenue-related payments which in 2019 reached around $255 million.
Commenting on the issue, Rodney Butler working as the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman said that the state’s Governor’s vision of sports betting future in Connecticut contravenes with the tribal entity’s compacts since it would violate a ruling devised by the National Indian Gaming Commission which defines betting on sports in the state as a Class III sports betting activity. The Mohegan Tribe’s official Chuck Bunnell also explained that the compacts from 1994 give the two tribes sole rights to operate sports betting activities in the state as they fall into a category of Class III gaming under federal laws.