Online Poker Report

Is Foxwoods’ New Partnership A Sign That Online Gambling Is Coming To Connecticut?

Foxwoods online casino CT

Foxwoods Resort Casino recently announced a partnership with PariPlay that lays the groundwork for on-premises, real-money online gambling.

“Foxwoods has adopted PariPlay’s ground-breaking interactive gaming platform eyeON, allowing guests at North America’s largest resort casino to enjoy digital gaming on-property, subject to any necessary legislation and regulatory review and approval,” a press release announcing the partnership stated.

The agreement also marks Foxwoods’ first foray into real-money online gambling in the US.

“We are thrilled to partner with PariPlay and leverage their world class interactive gaming platform to lay the groundwork for our entry into the USA’s iGaming market,” said Foxwoods Director of Online Gaming Seth Young in the release.

Young went on to discuss the numerous opportunities the agreement presents:

“The PariPlay on-premises solution is an exciting new amenity that will allow our guests to game anywhere that is legally permissible, and will allow us to prepare for broader opportunities outside of the four walls of the physical property.

“Developing an interactive gaming program is the next step in Foxwoods’ commitment to providing an ever-expanding range of amenities to match the changing needs of our guests, and to continue to be first-to-market with unique experiences for visitors.

“It is also an excellent new business opportunity for this organization, and by proxy the state of Connecticut, as iGaming has demonstrated its ability to both drive new revenues and augment the operations at brick-and-mortar facilities. This is a major step forward for Foxwoods, one of the USA’s leading gaming and entertainment brands.”

The immediate impact

As the press release notes, Foxwoods’ ability to offer real-money, on-premise online gambling lacks legal clarity at the moment. But with the deal in place, it’s safe to assume the tribe has affirmative legal opinions.

As such, Foxwoods could soon be offering real-money online games to guests on property. Furthermore, the deal with PariPlay could lead to on-premise online sports betting at Foxwoods.

Connecticut got the ball rolling on legalized sports betting in 2017, with lawmakers hopeful they can finalize legislation this year.

Even though a law was passed last year, the legalization of sports betting in Connecticut is written in pencil (more on this in a moment). It’s predicated on the following:

  1. A change to federal law brought about by New Jersey emerging victorious in its US Supreme Court case;
  2. The repeal of the state’s prohibition on sports betting; and
  3. The crafting of regulations by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protections.

Opportunities beyond the four walls of the casino?

Based on Young’s statement in the press release, Foxwoods and PariPlay might have bigger aspirations than the on-premise real-money gaming opportunities.

The two parts that really stick out on this front are:

“The Pariplay on-premises solution is an exciting new amenity that will allow our guests to game anywhere that is legally permissible, and will allow us to prepare for broader opportunities outside of the four walls of the physical property.”

“It is also an excellent new business opportunity for this organization, and by proxy the state of Connecticut, as iGaming has demonstrated its ability to both drive new revenues and augment the operations at brick-and-mortar facilities.”

If we read between the lines, Foxwoods could very well be lobbying the state to legalize online gambling.

Does Connecticut have what it takes?

Connecticut is a solid candidate for online gambling. As regional competition heats up, the state has been looking at multiple ways to bolster revenues at its two tribal casinos.

Last year, the state approved a new tribal satellite casino — a joint project between the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes. As noted above, this began the process of authorizing sports betting, which could very well be the vehicle for online gambling legislation.

Finalizing the sports betting legislation is one of the first things the legislature is hoping to tackle in 2018, according to House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz.

“I would like it to be one of the first bills voted out of committee and I would like for the General Assembly to act on it quickly after that,” said Aresimowicz of sports betting back in January. “It’s another area where if we don’t act, I’m sure neighboring states and other areas will.”

The same train of thought applies to online gambling. Namely, there’s an opportunity for online gambling to piggyback on sports betting. That’s especially true if the state throws online sports betting into the mix.

What about Mohegan Sun?

This is not a solo production by Foxwoods. It’s one of two gaming stakeholders in Connecticut, Mohegan Sun being the other. For online gambling to pass, two must tango.

The good news is Foxwoods likely has a willing dance partner. Mohegan Sun is already a player in legal online gambling in the US.

The tribe runs Resorts Casino in Atlantic City and launched the MoheganSunCasino.com real-money NJ online casino in conjunction with Resorts and its online casino partner, NYX Gaming.

Mohegan Sun also owns and operates the Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State legalized online gambling in October 2017.

The bottom line is this: Connecticut may be turning into one of the top candidates for online gambling legalization in 2018.

Photo by Stilfehler used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Steve Ruddock
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.