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October 25, 2014

Hurting Connecticut Expands Gaming Options: Will Online Betting be Next?


Map of ConnecticutThe state of Connecticut is hurting. Like many other states in the U.S., the economic woes of the last decade have forced politicians to look more closely at gambling as a source of revenue to fill gaping budget holes. While the New England state already has two world class casinos which generate handsome revenue, this money is no longer enough to sustain local governments.

Politicians recently decreed that the state will soon be offering residents a lot more opportunities to gamble in bars and restaurants, thanks to a new budget approved at the beginning of June 2013. The budget consists of $37.6 million in spending, some of which will go toward the installation of 600 new lottery terminals in public places. At these terminals, citizens will have the opportunity to play Keno, a video-based game of chance similar to roulette and lottery.

How Keno is Played

Numbers appear on a screen in the electronic version of this game, which is what citizens of Connecticut will soon see in their bars and restaurants. Players wager money on the numbers of their choice; if their numbers match the winning numbers, they win a cash prize. Keno is currently offered in many U.S. casinos and some state lotteries. Although the outcome of the game is basically random, some invested players have developed complex mathematical formulas to determine the probability of certain winning numbers.

Connecticut House Representative: We Understand Little About Keno

State House representative Lawrence F. Cafero freely admits that the politicians who authorized the 600-terminal addition know little about the game of Keno. He likened the multimillion dollar budget, flush with spending cuts, to a patchwork job cobbled together with shoddy elements like “spit and glue.” Nevertheless, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation has been authorized to initiate a Keno program statewide to help government fill financial gaps with some much-needed revenue.

The Connecticut Lottery Corporation: The Earliest Revenue Generator

Connecticut lottery logoThe Connecticut Lottery Corporation created the Connecticut State Lottery in 1971 with the goal of creating revenue for the state. That goal has been fulfilled for 33 years now. In 2012, the organization contributed $310 million to the state's general fund. The addition of Keno, in the eyes of politicians, is sure to bring even more profit to the spending tables by the end of 2013.

Casino Offerings in Connecticut: Some of the World's Best

Lottery and Keno are not the only forms of gambling in this New England state. Two of the largest casinos in the world, the Foxwoods casino resort and the Mohegan Sun, also reside there. Both facilities provide a wealth of opportunities for gamblers: slot machines, table games, delicious dining, luxurious accommodations, and world-class entertainment.

About Foxwoods Casino and Resort

Connecticut-based Foxwoods is the largest casino resort in North America. It is not just one casino, but six different casinos all in one location, offering visitors what seems like a never-ending buffet of gaming choices. In addition to gambling, the resort campus offers golf, AAA hotels, exclusive shopping, live entertainment, and dining in all styles and price ranges.

Unlike some other big name casinos in the U.S., Foxwoods is run by a native American tribe. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, or MPTN, owns and operates Foxwoods. This tribe, native to southeastern Connecticut, is one of the state's largest employers and revenue generators. In addition to revenue contributed through taxes, the MPTN also donates money to some non-profit Connecticut agencies that support local communities.

Foxwoods recently made a play for ownership of a casino that is yet to be constructed in the Boston area. As of yet, it has not been decided if the MPTN will acquire this property. Two other competitors, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts, are also vying for the privilege of owning and operating the coveted Boston casino.

About Mohegan Sun Casino Resort

Mohegan Sun (Uncasville, CT)One of the largest casino resorts in the United States, the Mohegan Sun Casino Resort in Uncasville is sponsored by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut. It offers guests the choice of three different casinos on its grounds, as well sporting events, a planetarium, a 55-foot waterfall, and all the typical resort offerings: a stellar convention center, luxury accommodations, food, and live entertainment. It is not just a place to go gambling; it is a destination resort that beckons thrill seekers from across the globe.

A sister to the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut is the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania. This facility is a luxury gambling resort and horse racing track all in one. The facility offers horse racing as well as electronic slots and table games, a food court full of options, and outstanding live entertainment. The tribe acquired the Pocono Downs property in 2005 and it continues to grow and evolve.

Preparing for a Future in Online Gambling

Although online gambling has not yet been legalized in Connecticut, Foxwoods is preparing for the scenario in which it becomes legal. In April 2013, a spokesman for Foxwoods said the casino will be offering online poker in affiliation with a London-based company, GameAccount Network, before the end of 2013. Mohegan Sun is already involved with online gambling, too. It currently offers online poker through Bally Entertainment in Las Vegas. The game involves no real money as of yet. Online gambling for cash has been legalized in only three states so far, but as budget needs grow, speculators project that Connecticut may soon be adding itself to that list.

Connecticut's Struggle for Revenue Opens the Doors for Gamblers

Connecticut has few brick-and-mortar casinos, but two of the world's largest, the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, operate within its boundaries. These facilities deliver a large chunk of revenue to the state budget yearly, but in these tough economic times, that contribution is no longer enough. Consequently, the state will open up 600 new keno centers with the hopes of generating more revenue. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before lucrative online gaming will make its way to legality in the state as well.


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