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State On 'Precipice' Of Gaming Agreement With Tribal Nations

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Paul Mounds, Governor Ned Lamont's chief of staff, said Tuesday that the state was on the "precipice" of an agreement on expanded gaming. He spoke during a public hearing put on by the state legislature's public safety and security committee.

The state of Connecticut and the Mohegan tribal nation are close to announcing an agreement on expanded gaming.

The deal could include a license to operate sports betting in Connecticut -- once it is legalized.

“We are at the precipice of agreement with the tribal nations,” said Paul Mounds, Governor Ned Lamont’s chief of staff.

Mounds said an announcement could come as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

The state has existing agreements with both the Mohegan -- and Mashantucket Pequot -- tribal nations around gambling. Those need to be updated before moving ahead with expanded gaming.

But the state hasn’t agreed to terms with the Mashantucket Pequots.

“I would say when it comes to the tribal nations we are much closer with Mohegan at this time and that it is my belief that we can have a firm agreement with [two] tribal nations, but – if you had to use football terms -- we’re at first and goal at the one with the Mohegans,” Mounds said.

He spoke Tuesday morning at a public hearing on the expansion of gaming in Connecticut. That’s where Mashantucket Pequot tribal chairman Rodney Butler also got to address his side’s prospects.

“This is the first time that we’ve had any focused negotiations with a defined outcome that we all agree on,” Butler said.

“We are literally down to one point.”

Butler said it’s coming down to eventual revenue cut to the state on sports betting and iGaming and that the proposed figure of 8 percent of sports betting revenue going back to the state and 10 percent on iGaming has now grown.

It’s expected that once negotiations are complete, local lawmakers can get to work on legislation.

That legislation isn’t yet “comprehensive” according to the state, so there’s not yet a concrete plan to fund problem gambling that can arise in an expanded gaming landscape.

The state is considering giving two percent of whatever it makes on expanded gaming to entities that counsel problem gamblers.

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