In the state of Connecticut, lawmakers keep moving the ball between the 20s, but can’t seem to get to the end zone one way or another. A political tug-of-war has prevented an expansion of gambling that would include legalized sports betting. The battle has been raging for a while now and the tune sounds like a broken record because the same issue continues to be at the forefront.
A never-ending cycle with two variations of the same bill is holding up progress. Both bills would pave the way for online and mobile betting, so that is a very good thing for everybody following along with the discussion in Connecticut. Where the difference lies is that one bill would limit sports betting to Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. The other bill would allow betting at those facilities, but also extend it to off-track betting locations and also create provisions for running sports betting through the lottery. It would also allow the MGM property in Bridgeport to have sports betting.
The aforementioned political football has been kicked and thrown back-and-forth with the same issues at heart. We’re finding in a lot of states that the tribal gaming compacts carry a ton of weight, a ton of power, and seem to have quite a bit of leverage as well. The fact that the tribal casinos win with either bill is proof positive that they sit down at the table and command respect.
Obviously, the key difference for the tribes is that some bigger pieces of the sports betting pie would go to the state if the off-track betting locations and the lottery were involved. The MGM property is also a huge consideration given its proximity to a major metropolitan area like New York City. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are in very nice areas and are reasonably close to Hartford, but they are located in less populated areas relative to the Bridgeport casino, some of the off-track betting facilities, and, of course, lottery hotspots.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe have virtually stalled progress ever since potential legislation was first introduced. As a result, Connecticut is behind some of its neighboring states.
As far as a timeline for 2020 goes, a resolution will have to be reached by early June, otherwise this gets pushed further down the line into 2021. It is frustrating for everyone involved because there is one issue at the center of all of this, but it is easy to understand why both sides have dug in. Ultimately, it hurts all Connecticut residents, but there are a lot of dollars at risk and apparently the pie isn’t big enough for everybody to have some.
Right now, you cannot. Eventually, you will be able to. Something will have to give at some point, perhaps when MGM starts to apply more pressure because their new property in Bridgeport was expected to have a sportsbook and a betting lounge. That could put the lawmakers in an even tougher spot.
Nevertheless, if you really want to bet on sports and live in Connecticut, you can find a way. You just have to travel in order to do it. New York has legal sports betting, but only retail betting in the upstate. Rhode Island has legal sports betting. Massachusetts does not have sports betting as of yet, but could be live by the 2020 NFL season.
Train rides down to New Jersey or Philadelphia are probably the best bet for those that want to bet on sports. Online, mobile, and retail wagering are available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, so that would likely be the preferred course of action for those that want to go and bet on the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, college sports, etc. The only difference between PA and NJ is that wagering on New Jersey college teams or events held in the state is not allowed.
Unfortunately, people in Connecticut cannot bet on sports from home quite yet, but it will happen at some point.