While residents of neighboring Rhode Island are celebrating the legalization and implementation of sports gambling in the Ocean State – the same cannot be said for citizens of Connecticut. While there were hopes that lawmakers would present legislation in Connecticut in 2018 to vote on sports betting – that did not happen.
In all likelihood, legislation for bringing sports gambling to the Nutmeg state will be introduced during the 2019 legislative session. While the governor-elect of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, is in favor of sports betting, that is no guarantee of passage for the legalization of sports betting in the state. The most viable argument for legalizing sports gambling in Connecticut will come in the form of additional revenues for the state. It has been estimated that Connecticut could make upwards of $25 million a year in revenue for the state.
Unfortunately, there are several political related hurdles that sports betting would have to overcome before becoming legalized in Connecticut. One of the key issues will be deciding whether or not mobile betting will be allowed; and if it is allowed – which entities will be able to offer mobile sports gambling. The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes (owners of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods respectively) have argued that as the casino owners in Connecticut – they should be offered the exclusive right to sports gambling – and mobile sports gambling in the state. Certainly, with the money and power that these tribes yield, it will be a difficult for non-tribal entities to make a big splash in the state when it comes to sports betting.
In addition, entities that want to open new casinos in the state – may not support sports betting in the state – unless they are granted a casino license. There is also the issue of verification when it comes to sports betting; as some lawmakers have called for all bettors in the stare to register before betting – so they can be monitored, and any problematic gamblers can be identified. Therefore, it seems like Connecticut may be in for a long and tenuous political battles as various casino and gambling related entities jockey for power in the state; along with the obvious privacy related issues that may come with any sort of sports gamblers’ registration requirement in the state.
When it comes time to voting on any potential sports betting bills in Connecticut – a lot will depend on the newly elected lawmakers in the state. With a large number of new state house of representatives and state senators it will be difficult to gauge a barometer for the proponents of sports betting versus the opponents of sports gambling.
Overall, there is reason to believe that sports gambling will be legalized in Connecticut in 2019. While the process certainly won’t be an easy one – the more successful Rhode Island is in implementing sports betting – the better the implications will be for the Nutmeg state. Connecticut will certain be a state to monitor throughout the first half of 2019.