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Mashantucket - The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe will partner with an English software company to provide online gaming.
The tribe, which owns Foxwoods Resort Casino, announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with London-based GameAccount Network, described as "one of Europe's leading, privately owned Internet gaming system and software providers."
Initially, the parties will focus on "play-for-fun online gaming opportunities in the U.S.," the tribe said in a statement, "and in the event that legislation is enacted allowing real-money wagering, the parties will utilize GameAccount's cutting-edge technology and platform to ensure a safe and fair game for all players."
Under the agreement, Foxwoods' website, which the tribe says has 1 million monthly visitors, will begin offering free-play Internet gambling at some point this year. The tribe and GameAccount will also work to provide online gaming systems for other U.S. gaming operators.
The plan is subject to regulatory approval. Terms were not disclosed.
Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods' southeastern Connecticut competitor, introduced a free-play poker site on its website last month after agreeing last year to partner with Las Vegas-based Bally Technologies.
Gaming operators have been pursuing such agreements since the U.S. government reversed its ban on online gambling in 2011, opening the door for states to consider legalizing it. So far, only Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have passed laws to regulate online gambling.
In Connecticut, the Mashantuckets and the Mohegan Tribe, which owns Mohegan Sun, have discussed online gambling with state officials though no legislation has yet been proposed.
"The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe has long been a leader in brick and mortar casino operations, and with the help of GameAccount we aim to take the same leadership position in regulated online gaming in the U.S.," Rodney Butler, tribal chairman, said. "Our shared vision unites GameAccount's technical capabilities with our Foxwoods brand and our leadership in casino management."
GameAccount describes itself as one of the first European Internet gaming system suppliers to move into the U.S. market.
"We have developed the specialist experience, expertise and technical functionality required to serve Foxwoods from a hardware platform located on-property in Connecticut," Dermot Smurfit, GameAccount's chief executive officer, said. "We're delighted that this experience and our unique capabilities will support our new strategic partner …"
In 2011, it was reported that the Mashantuckets were close to partnering with another English company, Sportingbet, on a free-play poker site.