The moving parts keep on moving amid Connecticut‘s sports betting landscape in anticipation of a possible fall launch. Today came news of another notable shift involving one of the three CT sports betting licensees, Mohegan Sun.
Anticipating sports betting coming to CT, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) had partnered with the Kambi Group back in March 2019 by entering into a five-year agreement. Until very recently, speculation had been that Kambi would eventually serve as a platform provider for Mohegan Sun’s retail and online sportsbooks. However on Thursday Kambi announced an amendment to the agreement allowing Mohegan Sun “to collaborate with alternative parties to launch on-property and online sports betting in Connecticut.”
According to the announcement, Kambi still stands to receive revenue as forecasted by the initial agreement with MGE. But Mohegan Sun can now find another sports betting partner to power its sportsbooks later this year.
‘Amicable discussions’ result in Kambi stepping aside
MGE’s deal with the Kambi Group initially involved Kambi integrating its sportsbook into Mohegan Sun’s iPro gaming platform in order to offer a free-to-play mobile sportsbook. That said, many viewed the partnership as part of Mohegan Sun’s preparations for the legalization of sports betting.
Based in Malta, Kambi serves as a sports betting supplier in many countries. Kambi has also helped launch dozens of retail and online sportsbooks in the US since the lifting of the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018.
In the announcement, Kristiean Nylén, CEO and co-founder of Kambi, commented on the amendment. She characterized the new agreement as having been arrived at mutually and in a friendly manner.
“While we had been looking forward to supporting MGE become a sports betting leader in the Connecticut market, the amicable discussions between both parties have found a positive conclusion,” said Nylén. She added how MGE would be “respecting Kambi’s financial interests for the duration of the original agreement.”
Earlier this week, MGE announced the creation of a new iGaming division, Mohegan Digital. Among other duties, the new division will oversee casino and sportsbook online operations for Mohegan Sun.
That announcement appeared to indicate an intention to focus in-house for online gaming forward. Now, however, it appears possible another operator may be stepping in to join forces with Mohegan Sun.
Speculation about new Mohegan partner coincides with impending CT Lottery announcement
The Kambi announcement introduces additional suspense regarding which sportsbook operators will be the ones competing once Connecticut sports betting finally goes live.
New CT sports betting legislation passed in May identifies three licensees. Two are the state’s federally recognized tribes, the Mohegan Tribe and Manshantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Each will receive licenses to operate sportsbooks in their casinos and online. So, too, will the Connecticut Lottery be able to offer mobile sports betting plus 15 retail sportsbooks around the state.
The Mashantucket Pequot tribe has already made its choice of sports betting partner. DraftKings will power sports betting for the tribe at its Foxwoods Resorts Casino and online.
Meanwhile the Connecticut Lottery is on the verge of announcing its chosen operator as well. The CT Lottery has considered 15 proposals and selected a small group of finalists. This week the CT Lottery indicated it would announce the winning bidder on July 6.
FanDuel, BetMGM possible candidates for Mohegan Sun
It stands to reason that MGE already has a new partner in mind. Major names like FanDuel and BetMGM seem the most conspicuous candidates. Adding further intrigue, the CT Lottery has not publicized its finalists. That means both FanDuel and BetMGM could potentially be in the running there, too.
Either would prove interesting choices as partners for Mohegan Sun.
FanDuel and Mohegan Sun have worked together in the past, having previously entered an agreement to enable FanDuel fantasy sports accounts sign-ups directly through the Mohegan Sun website.
Meanwhile MGM Resorts International has long sought to find a way into Connecticut. MGM previously proposed a casino in Bridgeport. They have also fought multiple legal battles with the state over the right to open a casino in CT. The Bridgeport plan appears now to have been set aside, with MGM having also recently dropped a lawsuit against the state regarding the tribes also-sidelined proposal to build a casino together in East Windsor.
In any case, expect further news regarding Mohegan Sun’s plans to come sooner than later as Connecticut sports betting swiftly comes into focus.