Connecticut: Mohegan Sun Casino halts wagering on WNBA | Yogonet International
Potential conflict of interest

Connecticut: Mohegan Sun Casino halts wagering on WNBA

Mohegan Sun & FanDuel Sportsbook.
United States
Reading time 2 min
After Governor Ned Lamont placed the sportsbook's first bet on the Connecticut Sun to win its playoff game with the Chicago Sky last Thursday, questions were raised as to whether there would be a conflict of interests with the Mohegan Sun accepting bets on that team, which is also owned by the Mohegan tribe and plays in the arena located at the casino complex.

After opening its temporary retail sportsbook with FanDuel last week, the Mohegan Sun casino announced Monday that it has suspended wagering on the WNBA after questions were raised over a potential conflict in taking bets on the Connecticut Sun, a team also owned by the Mohegan Tribe. 

The issue came up after Governor Ned Lamont opened the sportsbook last Thursday, the first day of legalized sports betting in Connecticut, by placing a $50 bet on the Sun to win its playoff game with the Chicago Sky. 

The wager caught the attention of some experts and lawmakers concerned about a potential conflict of interest with the Mohegan Sun accepting bets on the Sun, which plays in the arena located at the casino complex, the Associated Press reports. Casino officials announced Monday the decision to suspend betting on WNBA playoffs at the sportsbook. 

Ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 30, hosting Gov. Ned Lamont.

When Connecticut lawmakers set up emergency regulations and legislation allowing sports betting this fall, they prohibited Mohegan Sun employees, including those involved with the team, from placing wagers at the sportsbook. They also barred anyone from betting on games involving UConn, Yale or any other university in the state. However, they did not prohibit the tribe from accepting bets on games involving the Connecticut Sun.

“We are in the process of working with the WNBA to update our SOPs (standard operating procedures) and have decided to take WNBA wagering off until this is finalized,” Jeff Hamilton, the Mohegan Sun’s president and general manager, said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

“We had been more concerned that nobody with a substantial interest in that team could bet on the team. This is a major expansion (of gambling) and I would be very surprised if we got everything right in the first bite. I expect that we will go back and take a look at whether a tweak needs to be made”, said State Rep. Maria Horn, who co-chairs the legislative committee that oversees gambling in the state. 

The WNBA and NBA have an agreement that allows third-party sportsbooks in arenas in which teams play as long as they are separated from all arena common areas and accessible solely by those who are legally able to gamble.

Mohegan Sun started operations in the property along with partner FanDuel, and hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Bow & Arrow Sports Bar in the property, where the FanDuel Sportsbook is currently located. The first bet placed by Gov. Lamont took place during the inauguration. 

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