New Connecticut Sports Betting Bill Backs Tribal Duopoly

Posted on January 14, 2021

Seventeen Connecticut lawmakers have backed a new bill that would allow the state’s two tribes to run CT sports betting.

SB 146 would authorize the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians to offer online sports betting and retail betting on tribal land.

The tribes would also be allowed to offer online casino, while the state lottery could offer online services.

The initial filing is just two pages long and light on details.

Duopoly better than nothing in Connecticut?

It’s an interesting development in Connecticut, where it looks like the tribes are going to get their way.

Earlier in January, Gov. Ned Lamont threw his weight behind sports betting in his State of the State address.

“Sports betting, internet gaming and legalized marijuana are happening all around us,” Lamont said. “Let’s not surrender these opportunities to out-of-state markets or even worse, underground markets.”

The tribes have made it clear they won’t let Connecticut online sports betting happen without them in charge.

They have exclusive gaming rights in Connecticut in exchange for 25% of slot revenue and contend those exclusive rights include sports betting as well.

Who benefits from the new sports betting bill?

Apart from the tribes themselves, the big winners appear to be DraftKings and Kambi

DraftKings has a deal to run betting for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation – the owner of Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Meanwhile, Kambi has a deal with Mohegan.

The interesting subplot here is DraftKings will likely be using its new SBTech platform to compete against Mohegan on its former Kambi platform. 

As for the size of the opportunity, Connecticut is a small state with around 3.6 million people. However, it is very well off. The state has the third-highest GDP per capita in the US, behind Massachusetts and New York.

Before Christmas, the tribes and politicians were very confident about getting sports betting done in 2021. SB 146 looks like the first step towards that happening.

Photo by Stephen Dunn / The Associated Press
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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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