Connecticut Legislature Sends iGaming, Sports Betting Bill to Gov. Ned Lamont

Posted on: May 26, 2021, 08:52h. 

Last updated on: May 26, 2021, 11:02h.

Connecticut is a major step closer to legalizing online gaming and sports betting. Late last night, the Connecticut Senate passed House Bill 6451.

Connecticut iGaming sports betting tribes
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signs legislation earlier this month. The Democrat says he will soon sign an approved gaming expansion bill that will allow the state’s tribes to conduct sports betting and online gaming sites. (Image: CT.gov)

The House of Representatives earlier approved the legislation 122-21.

HB 6451 allows Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) to amend the Class III gaming compacts the state has with its two federally recognized tribes. The statute seeks to allow the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to operate sports betting at their respective casino resorts, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, as well as offer internet gaming and mobile sports betting. A licensing process for daily fantasy sports operators is additionally included. 

Once Lamont amends the tribal gaming compacts, the Native American contracts will be sent to the US Department of the Interior (DOI) for final approval. The federal agency has 45 days to rule on the amended gaming arrangements once received.

Lamont to Sign Bill

Connecticut’s two tribes aren’t the only winners in the gaming expansion package. The Connecticut Lottery will also be permitted in the sports betting game. 

The lottery is allowed to conduct sports betting at up to 15 retail locations, plus online. The lottery will need to partner with an experienced third-party operator.

In exchange for the expanded gaming, the tribes and lottery will share 13.75 percent of their gross gaming revenue from sports betting with the state. For the tribes’ online casino operations, revenue will be taxed at 18 percent for the first five years, and then increase to 20 percent for the following five years. 

The tribes must also contribute $500,000 annually to fund problem gambling programs. 

Lamont celebrated the bill’s passage and congratulated the tribal partners in the collaborative negotiation efforts. The first-term governor said the deal is in the best interests of the state and its citizens.

East Windsor Loses

During the tribes’ negotiations with the state regarding expanded gambling over the past several years, one major discussion was allowing the Mashantucket and Mohegans to jointly build a satellite casino in East Windsor. The development was initially approved by the state in order to reduce gaming dollars flowing across the border to MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.

The East Windsor casino — dubbed Tribal Winds — was abandoned in December after the tribes and Lamont moved forward with iGaming and sports betting. The law passed this week delays any off-reservation casino from being authorized for 10 years.