A bill involving sports betting in Connecticut has gained support from the state lottery as well as Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.
Sports betting continues to be a hot topic of debate in the United States. Currently, sports betting is banned and limited to only four states, based on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. New Jersey is hoping to change that after the United States Supreme Court makes a decision in their Christie vs NCAA case. If SCOTUS rules that the PASPA is unconstitutional, then sports betting will be open across the nation, as long as individual states have legislation in place. Because of the potential for sports betting to become a reality, many state are already reviewing sports betting legislation, including Connecticut.
A bill has emerged in Connecticut that would legalize sports betting. The bill has recently gained support from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, the Foxwoods Casino operator. The state lottery has also show support for the measure.
With new support, it seems the bill is rapidly moving forward. According to recent reports, a public hearing was held recently where the subject of expanded gambling for the state was discussed. The hearing talked about several forms of gambling, including commercial casinos, online gaming and sports betting.
Lawmakers in Connecticut want to see everything in place for the state to be ready if the Supreme Court decides to remove a federal ban on the gaming option. With legislation already passed into law, the state would be able to get started quickly, if the ban were to be lifted.
Seth Young was in attendance during the recent hearing, a speaker for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Mr. Young commented on the support the bill has from the tribe as well as support for regulated online gambling.
If HB 5307 were to be passed, the tribe has estimated that sports gambling market potential for the state is around $75 million to just over $100 million a year. The state could generate just over $6 million in the first year of operations to more than $9 million within a five year time frame.
If you combine sports betting with online gaming potential, Young stated that the tribe believes that they would be able to create over $20 million for the state within the first year alone, reaching close to $30 million after a five-year time frame.
No Integrity Fee
Sports leagues have suggested that an integrity fee be paid to the leagues for allowing sports betting to take place. However, the tribe is not interested in such a fee. The tribe feels that the fee would be going against social responsibility as well as public policy.
The state lottery also commented on the possibility of sports betting during the hearing, stating that even if there is a ban on sports betting, it does not eliminate the activity from taking place in the US. Steve Wagner, the Information Technology Director of the CT Lottery stated that if lawmakers decide to allow sports betting in the state, the lottery should be the only sports betting provider.
While support is being shown, Attorney General George Jaspen is advising that lawmakers move with caution when dealing with regulation of sports betting, especially considering the current gambling pact the state has with two tribal gaming operators. According to the AG, the tribes may decide they no longer have to make payments to the state if they find the state is in violation of their compact based on new sports betting legislation.
Overall, things are looking up for sports betting potential in Connecticut. We shall watch and see in the coming weeks if the bill on the matter will be able to move forward and possibly be signed into law.