Mashantucket Pequot Chairman Rodney Butler sent out a statement Thursday criticizing Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont for putting a new “take-it-or-leave-it proposal on the table, with the full understanding that it was unacceptable to the Tribes.”
The statement was in response to Lamont's comments Tuesday voicing his support for a bill that would authorize the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to conduct sports betting on their reservations — home to Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun — and also permit the tribes, the Connecticut Lottery Corp. and the state's off-track betting operator to conduct sports betting outside the tribes' reservations.
Butler has said the tribes believe they have exclusive rights to offer sports betting under their nearly 30-year-old gambling agreement with the state, which calls for the tribes to send the state 25% of slot machine revenues from their two southeastern Connecticut casinos.
As reported by Greenwich time, Butler also said that Lamont has talked about negotiating on sports betting, but has had little or no communication with the tribes over the past several months. He said the bill supported by Lamont would violate the tribes' gambling agreement and put at risk the more than $250 million in slot machine revenues the state receives each year.
The tribes support an alternative proposal introduced by Sen. Cathy Osten, Senate Bill 21, which would grant them the exclusive right to provide sports betting and online gaming, invest in a Bridgeport casino and sports-betting “centers” in several cities, and authorize an online lottery.
Lamont's spokesman, Max Reiss, responded Thursday that this alternative bill "is sweeping and would invite serious legal challenges from a host of competitors."