HARTFORD - Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday signed legislation that finally legalizes sports wagering and online gambling, the last step before the U.S. Department of Interior is asked to sign off on an amended gambling compact between the state and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes.
Proponents are hopeful that bets can be placed as soon as this fall.
“I am confident that the federal government will see fit to approve these amendments to our compact, and in the coming months we can launch a modernized, 21st century gaming experience in Connecticut,” said Lamont in a statement.
By signing the bill into law, Lamont ended years of debate and failed negotiations with the state's two federally recognized tribal nations, who have exclusive rights to certain forms of gambling in the state. They own and operate Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino in southeastern Connecticut.
Under the agreement Lamont and his administration reached with tribal leaders, both sovereign nations will be allowed to offer sports betting, online gambling and online fantasy sports, on and off their reservations, in return for providing the state a share of the revenues.
The legislation also allows the quasi-public Connecticut Lottery Corporation to offer online sports wagering and retail sports betting at 15 locations, including ones specifically located in Hartford and Bridgeport.
For internet gambling, the state’s tax rate on gross revenues will be 18% for the first five years and then 20% for the next five years, with an option to continue for another five years. The tax rate on sports betting and fantasy contests will be 13.75%.
Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman James Gessner Jr. said the new wide-ranging law will keep Connecticut competitive with surrounding states.
“This is a major accomplishment, reached with overwhelming bipartisan support,” Gessner said in a statement. “The advantages of these changes will be felt statewide, to the benefit of Connecticut residents and our tribal members, at a time when our governments are collectively working to recover from the pandemic and provide vital services.”
Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, said the agreement “not only ushers in a new modern era of gaming, but it solidifies our tribal/state partnership for years to come.”