Connecticut has been going back and forth with sports betting for its two tribal casinos for the last few years. Now, lawmakers are finally jumping onboard a new sports betting bill that would create a duopoly between the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians under SB 146.
17 lawmakers brought the bill to the state, allowing the tribal casinos to offer sports betting in-person and through mobile devices. The filed bill is only two pages long, but it does get the state moving in the right direction with sports wagering.
On January 13, the bill was referred to Joint Committee on Public Safety and Security, where it now resides. There is still a long way to go before Connecticut finally legalizes sports betting, but with numerous lawmakers in on SB146, it does give it more momentum heading into 2021.
Details of the Bill
SB146 did not provide much information outside of a broad overview of what Connecticut’s expanding gaming industry would look like.
“To authorize the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut to conduct sports wagering on Indian lands, online sports wagering and online casino gaming, subject to new or amended agreements with the tribes,” stated in the bill.
SB146 also explains that it would allow the Connecticut Lottery Corporation to sell lottery tickets and offer keno gaming online, in agreement with the tribal casinos. The bill also explained that it would have security for online gaming and hope it provides revenue to the state.
Overall, the bill was more of a declaration that lawmakers will be pushing to legalize sports betting and online casino gaming in 2021.
Governor Ned Lamont Onboard
Last week, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said he would be pushing to legalize sports betting in 2021 and work with New York and New Jersey to expand the northeast industry. Connecticut is also facing a budget deficit, similar to all other U.S. states, due to Covid-19. Legalizing sports betting would be a great boost to the state’s budget.
Lamont wants to be at the forefront of sports betting, online casino gaming, and marijuana legalization, especially with the surrounding states doing the same thing. Lamont does not want the state to lose out on revenue because lawmakers were not quick enough to move and pass bills.
Connecticut can see how much revenue New York was losing out on as people from the state were going to New Jersey to place bets instead of staying in New York. Now, Lamont wants to make sure a similar situation does not happen in his state.
Pressure from DraftKings
DraftKings might be the straw that stirs the sports betting drink in the Nutmeg State. At the end of 2020, DraftKings partnered with Foxwoods Resort Casino, ran by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, and now has a huge edge over competition trying to enter.
The tribal casino has already told Connecticut lawmakers that it will not move forward with sports betting unless they are involved, which means DraftKings will most likely have operations going the day Connecticut can have a bill passed and ready for an industry launch.
There is a chance that a small number of sports betting operators will be able to enter the Connecticut market, and DraftKings already secured one of the two casino partnerships. Kambi is the other operator that was able to secure a sports betting deal in Connecticut.
The Nutmeg State also wants to pass online sports betting and allow operators to enter the state without a casino partnership. More details will come out as 2021 moves along, but DraftKings and Kambi are already looking like the biggest winners of this deal. Regardless, the two have secured its sports in Connecticut.