The 2018 legislative session in Connecticut has come to an end, without legislation involving sports betting or online casino gaming passing into law.
On Wednesday, the current legislative session in Connecticut came to an end. Unfortunately for online gamers and sports betting fans, the session ending resulted in no movement for proposals that would have offered such gaming options. It will not be until next year before we see if any new legislation will be proposed to see either gaming category come to life in the state.
Not Much Hope
While there were measures on the table for sports betting and online gaming, there was little hope that the bills would actually pass into law. Legislature was discussing several areas of expansion for gaming in the state, including daily fantasy sports, online lottery, poker and casino gaming online, plus sports betting. However, there was not much optimism that the discussions would see any legislation actually passed into law.
When the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot showed their support earlier this year for online gambling and sports betting, there was a glimmer of hope. It seemed that the support of the tribes could help push legislators to move a bill involving both categories forward. Executive Director for iGaming at Foxwoods, Seth young, commented on the tribe’s interest earlier in the year by stating that both groups were supportive of sports betting, for online and on-reservation participation as well as for regulated online gambling.
It seems once the tribes showed their support, the process of passing legislation for either sports betting or online gaming was taking a turn for the worse. The state decided to forgo discussions about online gaming, even though the tribes were stating they wanted to be involved. Young had stated that the strongest opportunity for the state to be able to earn revenues from a gaming expansion would be to get involved with online gaming.
At the same time, Connecticut Attorney General, George Jepsen, decided to give his two cents, stating that if sports betting was legalized in the state, the tribes would not have exclusive rights to the games, based on their existing compacts. The AG pointed out that there would have to be amendments made to the tribal compacts if sports betting were to be authorized.
Will It Happen Next Year?
Now, all eyes are on 2019 and if the state will be able to make any headway on either topic. It is good that 2018 resulted in the conversation getting started, with lawmakers having sports betting and online gaming on their mind. Gaming interests seem to be on the same page, which is a big hurdle that would not have to be crossed in the future.
Lawmakers could return in 2019 with a strong understanding of how the state needs to make changes to become involved in both industries. However, there may still be issues in the future due to tribal interests. Even though the two tribes operating in Connecticut are on the same page, it can be difficult to expand a gambling industry when tribal interests are present. Compacts have to be adjusted, which means that negotiations must take place after a bill is passed into law. The Department of Interior has to be involved and this takes time. So even if the state was able to pass legislation, it may be some time before any actual gaming could take place due to compact negotiation needs.