No Immediate Plans to Allow Indoor Smoking at Connecticut Casinos

Connecticut Tribal Casinos Remain Smoke-Free

Posted on: August 10, 2023, 12:45h.

Last updated on: August 9, 2023, 10:41h.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, the tribal resorts in Connecticut, made the voluntary decision to ban smoking on their casino floors. Over three years later, indoor smoking remains prohibited in these tribal casinos owned by the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

Connecticut casinos Mohegan Sun Foxwoods smoking
A smoker extinguishes a cigarette outside Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, the other tribal casino in Connecticut, remain smoke-free gaming establishments. (Image: Hartford Courant)

According to a report by the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ), a smoking ban would significantly impact brick-and-mortar gaming in Atlantic City. However, Connecticut casino officials believe their smoking prohibitions have not negatively affected their gaming operations. Guests at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are enjoying a healthier environment, as stated by Jeff Hamilton, president and general manager at Mohegan Sun.

From the employees’ perspective, it’s healthier, too,” Hamilton added.

Jason Guyot, president and CEO at Foxwoods, agrees that nonsmokers are pleased with the smoke-free environment.

In an effort to promote cleanliness, Foxwoods recycles cigarette butts placed in designated receptacles. The casino’s sanitary staff estimates that over 200 packs of cigarettes are recycled daily. The cigarette butts are sent to TerraCycle, a waste management company specializing in hard-to-recycle materials, where they are turned into plastic pellets for various products. Any remaining tobacco flakes and cigarette paper are composted.

Smoking Ban Remains in Effect

Both Guyot and Hamilton have confirmed that there are no immediate plans to allow indoor casino smoking at their resorts. The tribes made the decision to ban smoking during the pandemic, and since the resorts are on sovereign land, the state could not enforce the ban.

During the initial months of the pandemic, the tribes faced disagreements with Gov. Ned Lamont (D) regarding the decision to remain open. This led to the placement of warning signs near the resorts by the state’s Department of Transportation with messages discouraging indoor gatherings. Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods reopened in June 2020 without allowing indoor casino smoking.

Gross gaming revenue from slot machines at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods experienced a slight decline in the past 12 months. However, tribal officials are not overly concerned as the launch of online sports betting and iGaming in October 2021 has generated significant revenue. The online platforms, such as DraftKings, FoxPlay, and Mohegan Sun CT Online Casino, have successfully covered the slight decline in legacy gaming revenue. Notably, iGaming gross gaming revenue totaled $279 million in the latest fiscal year.

State Benefits from Gaming

Connecticut receives 25% of the gross slot win from Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. The state also collects 18% of the gross gaming revenue from iGaming and imposes a 13.75% tax on sports betting winnings.

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