Connecticut may not have regulated online sports betting yet but local stakeholders are setting out their stall in preparation.
DraftKings announced on Monday it has entered into a multi-channel deal with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation – the owner of Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Under the agreement, DraftKings will run sports betting for the tribe, pending state-wide legalization.
Exclusive rights to CT sports betting?
In a statement, DraftKings noted the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes had exclusive rights to operate gaming within Connecticut’s borders.
The tribes have argued in the past that their exclusivity on casino games extends to sports betting.
And they have warned if their exclusivity is breached, they would file a lawsuit against the state and cease making $250 million in annual revenue-sharing payments.
However, stakeholders like Sportech, which runs off-track horse racing betting parlors in the state, argue they should be cut in to sports betting also.
Any legalization bill would have to address that issue. But in the meantime, it looks like DraftKings has chosen its horse, and is one less political opponent for the tribes to fight.
Landmark deal for Connecticut sports betting
“This is a landmark deal in collaboration with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation as well as a critical next step to bringing America’s top-rated sportsbook app to sports fans in Connecticut,” said Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of DraftKings North America.
“The national expansion of regulated sports betting is among our top strategic priorities. DraftKings today is live with mobile sports betting in 10 states, more than any other operator in the US. Teaming up with the tribe will allow us to extend our reach even further.”
DraftKings will also become Foxwoods’ first-ever daily fantasy sports partner, starting Dec. 13.
The two will offer online promotions and contests to enhance fan engagement.
Still hurdles to clear
“Partnering with DraftKings, the most prominent name in sports betting, reinforces the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe’s position as a leader in the gaming and entertainment industry,” said tribal chairman Rodney Butler.
“We’ve proven our ability to shape the future of gaming time and time again. And now we’re ready to drive sports wagering and online gaming for the state of Connecticut. Working through the tribal gaming compacts, we will help bolster our economy with much-needed revenue and virtual entertainment.”
The tribal compacts would need to be expanded to include sports betting. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun currently pay 25% of their slot revenue to the state.
Who else wants to get into CT sports betting?
The deal shifts the onus to CT’s other tribe, the Mohegan Tribe. They partnered with Kambi back in 2019, suggesting they may look to operate sports betting under their own brand. Will the DraftKings deal change their plans?
MGM Resorts International and the tribes have also hoped to build a casino in Bridgeport, an effort that has been tied up in the courts. MGM, which operates a casino in Massachusetts and is making a play for sports betting everywhere it is available, would obviously like to be involved in Connecticut sports betting.