UNCASVILLE, Conn. (WTNH)– A group of eastern Connecticut state lawmakers have joined the Mashantucket Pequots in opposing an agreement which would expand gaming in the state. That’s because the agreement only includes the Mohegan Tribe which runs the Mohegan Sun casino.
It wasn’t long after the governor announced an online gambling deal Tuesday which includes sports betting that the agreement came under fire.
The agreement which included involvement by the Connecticut Lottery and the Mohegan Tribe did not include the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation which runs Foxwoods.
“I think that’s bad politics and certainly disrespectful to people who have given us 9 billion dollars in the state coffers,” said State Senator Cathy Osten, (D) Sprague.
She is among a bipartisan group of 17 eastern Connecticut state lawmakers who sent a letter to the governor explaining their one big issue with this deal.
“We’re not willing to sign onto anything unless both tribal neighbors are on board,” said Sen. Osten.
Tuesday, Mashantucket Pequot Chairman Rodney Butler reminded everyone that any agreement with the state has to include both tribes.
He said in a statement“We have participated in these discussions in good faith and consider today’s events extremely disrespectful in terms of process and substance. “
Today the governor’s Chief of Staff Paul Mounds released a statement saying the administration agrees the Mashantucket Pequots need to be part of this agreement.
It read “Governor Lamont is urging the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation to join this agreement immediately, and Eastern Connecticut legislators should do the same.”
In the governor’s initial announcement about this agreement the Mohegan Tribe Chairman James Gessner said the tribe was proud to enter into this agreement with the state.
He went on to say… “This path will allow Connecticut to generate tax revenues from sports and online gaming that are competitive with other states, and help keep Connecticut with those states when it comes to growing our economy and benefiting the state budget.”
Senator Osten believes there is just one sticking point that needs to be worked out to get the Mashantuckets on board.
“My understanding is on a taxing issue,” said Osten.