The deal will certainly help move things along in Connecticut, whose sports betting legalization progress has been stunted by the complications with the state’s gaming deals with the Mashantucket and the Mohegan tribes.
While the tribes will have to have their opinion confirmed and approved by legislative and regulatory authorities in the state, sports gaming lawyer Daniel Wallach says that the deal DraftKings forged does move the ball forward.
DraftKings also says the deal is subject to legislative and regulatory approval, though there’s precedent for tribes going on their own when they believe their deal is already established. Tribes in New Mexico have gone ahead with in person sports gambling despite the fact that the state has yet to legalize it.
“It definitely strengthens the tribe’s position to have DraftKings, the most significant force in mobile sports betting in the Northeast, behind them,” Wallach said. “And for DraftKings, it would obviously be tremendously lucrative if they could take this agreement and basically have an exclusive to mobile sports betting like they have in New Hampshire.”
Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are the second and third largest casinos by square footage in the United States, but they’ve been left out of the sports gambling space, as Northeast states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania have emerged as the biggest winners in the post-legalization era.
“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,” said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket.
The tribes maintain that the deal they agreed to with the state of Connecticut in 1994 gives them sovereignty over all gaming in the state as long as they gave 25% of slot revenue to the state, though that interpretation is clearly up for debate.
Wallach submitted written testimony to the state legislature saying that he believes the agreement 25 years ago meant that the tribes would have a complete control over casino games, but not a broad interpretation of every game.
“Casino games, like table games, in my mind, are different from sports betting in that they are contained within a casino and are largely games of chance,” Wallach told The Action Network. “Sports betting involves activities that happen outside of a casino and it can be argued have more to do with skill.”
DraftKings operates its sports betting products in 12 states, including 10 with online betting. Thanks to the stock soaring 48% in November, the company is worth nearly $20 billion.
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