Tribes, Connecticut at Odds Over Sports Betting Bills

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has endorsed a bill that would legalize sports betting for all gambling stakeholders in the state: Tribal casino operators, the Connecticut Lottery and all licensed off-track betting vendors. The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes, owners of Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun respectively, have objected to the bill that violates the Tribes’ exclusivity agreements with the state of Connecticut. 

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Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler contests the bill would put the $250 million in slot machine revenues the state receives each year from the Tribal operations in jeopardy, because it undermines Tribal rights to exclusivity. His statement also chastises Lamont’s lack of communication with the Tribal Nations over several months, going against the Governor’s promise to engage in open negotiations. 

Chairman Butler charged Gov. Lamont with putting a “take-it-or-leave-it proposal on the table, with the full understanding that it was unacceptable to the Tribes.” 

Lamont’s spokesman Max Reiss said in a statement issued in response to Chairman Butler’s:“This approach would benefit the Tribes while also ensuring off-reservation sports betting is publicly available and free of the legal challenges and delays that have prevented this from moving forward.”

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes are in favor of legislation that would grant them exclusive rights to take bets on sports, as well as offer mobile casino gaming.