The Tribal operators of Connecticut have finally given up on the East Windsor gambling operations. The planned Joint venture between Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes started four years back. The initial idea was to build a Tribal Casino to stop people from crossing the border to Massachusetts for MGM Resorts. The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes run the only casinos of Connecticut, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods respectively.
MGM along with the federal government started an obstructionist campaign against the project. It was said that MGM wants to build a casino in Bridgeport. However, in 2019, the Federal Government dropped out of it after allegations of collusion with former DOI Ryan Zinke and MGM.
But there was nothing that looked conclusive before the pandemic hit.
COVID19 has changed everything. The Tribal casinos are suffering to operate and only running at 25% capacity. The revenues are down by a considerable amount. The slot revenue of Foxwood has declined by 24.4%. in October and Mohegan by 18%.
This has prompted the Tribes to give up the idea of building casinos at the East Windsor facility. They said that it isn’t permanent, but it is not feasible at this point either. The expected cost of the project was $300mn between the tribes. However, they have other pressing financial issues at hand including Inspire Athens Project and IR at Inchon, South Korea. The Tribe believed that it is in the best interest to let it go now.
This could also mean that the State would finally legalize sports betting and iGaming. The efforts have already failed due to the stakeholder squabbling before. One bill tried restricting the wagering to the two tribe casinos. However, another bill spoke about cut in the state lottery and off-track betting operator Sportech.
Governor Ned Lamont wanted the bill which is more competitive. However, after the East Windsor plan dropping, MGM has also moved on to other things. Governor now wants to have a better iGaming framework to be legalized including online casinos.
The sports betting/iGaming could be limited to the tribes as well and create a spin off of the Connecticut Lottery. However, that could end the road for Sportech.
Foxwood discussing a prospective sports betting deal with DraftKings and MGE already has a deal with Kambi since 2019.