Mohegan Sun Suspends Wagering on WNBA Games in Connecticut
There will be no more wagering on WNBA games at Mohegan Sun’s FanDuel Sportsbook in Uncasville, Connecticut, until further notice.
The Mohegan Sun casino announced that it has suspended wagering on WNBA games after questions were raised over a potential conflict in taking bets on the Connecticut Sun, a team also owned by the Mohegan Tribe.
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The issue became apparent last Thursday when Gov. Ned Lamont opened the retail sportsbook during the first day of legalized sports betting in the Nutmeg State. He placed a $50 wager on the Sun to win its playoff game with the Chicago Sky.
Online sports betting could begin as soon as Thursday in Connecticut.
Some, including state lawmakers, were concerned about a potential conflict of interest with the Mohegan Sun accepting bets on the team it owns. The Sun plays in the 10,000-seat arena located on casino property.
Mohegan Sun casino officials said that they decided over the past weekend to suspend betting on the WNBA playoffs at the sportsbook.
“We are in the process of working with the WNBA to update our SOPs (standard operating procedures) and have decided to take WNBA wagering off until this is finalized," Jeff Hamilton, the Mohegan Sun's president and general manager, said in a statement released Monday.
According to an Associated Press report, when lawmakers set up emergency regulations and legislation allowing for sports betting in Connecticut this fall, they barred Mohegan Sun employees — including those with the team — from wagering at the sportsbook and also prohibiting anyone from betting on games involving University of Connecticut, Yale or any other university in the state.
However, it did not prohibit the tribe from accepting bets on games involving the team.
Legislature to Step In?
State Rep. Maria Horn, a Democrat who co-chairs the legislative committee that oversees gambling in Connecticut, told the AP that the potential conflict might be addressed in the next legislative session, when permanent regulations are approved for the state's three legal sportsbooks.
“We had been more concerned that nobody with a substantial interest in that team could bet on the team,” Horn said, according to the AP story. “This is a major expansion (of gambling) and I would be very surprised if we got everything right in the first bite. I expect that we will go back and take a look at whether a tweak needs to be made.”
Sportsbooks in WNBA & NBA Arenas
The WNBA and NBA have an agreement concerning third-party sportsbooks in arenas where their teams play, according to AP. The sportsbooks have to be separated from arena common areas and accessible only by those legally able to gamble.
The WNBA Playoffs are currently in the semifinals as the Chicago Sky lead the Connecticut Sun, 2-1, in the best-of-five Eastern Conference series. Game 4 is set for Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN).
The Phoenix Mercury hold a 2-1 advantage in the Western Conference best-of-five series with the Las Vegas Aces. Las Vegas visits Phoenix in Game 4 on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (ESPN).
Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.