CONNECTICUT, USA — Lawmakers were urged Tuesday to finally legalize sports betting and internet gambling after years of debate.
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But it was clear that disagreement still remains as to whether the state’s federally recognized tribes have exclusive rights to that kind of wagering — an issue that has stymied the state’s efforts in the past.
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler insisted both sports betting and internet gambling fall under the decades-old memoranda of understanding between the state and the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan tribes. But he voiced optimism that a compromise respecting that exclusivity may be reached with state officials.
The Mohegan Tribe released a statement from the Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe James Gessner Jr. regarding the information hearing:
“This year, Connecticut is poised to modernize its gaming laws, realize significant new state revenue, and grow our local economy, just as neighboring states are already doing. Together we can make these changes, and we can do it this year — there’s no need to wait any longer.
To get there, our tribes will work cooperatively with the Governor and the General Assembly, just as we have throughout our long history together. These conversations should be based firmly on a mutual appreciation for the relationship and compact we have with one another, which has helped create an environment where the tribes are employers to thousands of state residents, key drivers of our regional economy, and major contributors to Connecticut’s state budget.
That strong foundation will allow Connecticut’s two casinos to take on the job at hand, and begin maximizing new revenues for the State right away. For our part, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment owns and operates casinos in multiple other states, and through those other managed operations we’ve established knowledge, experience, and a track record of success that will allow us to deliver a best-in-class, secured experience to Connecticut players, as well.
No longer should our state sit on the sidelines while others take action to the benefit of their state budgets, state economies, and state residents. The time to act is now — and we are here to act as partners.”