Connecticut lawmakers will have their hands full this week as they are set to debate as many as four gambling bills. The debate on these gambling bills will shape the future of Connecticut’s stance on the future of gambling in the state.
Should any one of these bills get approved, Connecticut will move forward with either sports betting legislation or online gambling legislation and open a new and lucrative revenue stream that will bring in significant revenue to the state budget.
The Four Bills
Senator Cathy Osten, from the Democratic party, submitted Senate Bill 17 which would allow the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots to launch sportsbooks through their casinos and also via mobile apps. The Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots are the two tribes that are federally recognized in the state. The bill also seeks to allow the Connecticut Lottery to offer an online keno product through the approval and agreement of the two tribes.
The second bill, House Bill 7055 would authorize the bidding process for the construction of a casino resort in Bridgeport. The bill would also see the formation of the Connecticut Gaming Commission. This is not the first time a bill of this kind has been submitted for debate. A similar bill was passed in 2017, but it did not survive too long. MGM Resorts is a keen supporter of this bill.
The third bill, Senate Bill 11 will permit the two tribes to establish a joint casino project in East Windsor, which has been in the works for several years already. A site was already pre-approved for this project; but the Federal Government has put a stop to this project, since it only recognizes the Mohegan tribe and not the Pequot tribe. This bill recognizes both tribes and drops the need for federal approval.
The fourth bill, Senate Bill 665 will focus on the legalization of sports betting. Should it be approved, it will open up a lucrative betting market as only the only competitor nearby is Rhode Island.
Hearing and Support
The Committee on Public Safety and Security of Connecticut will be holding a hearing on all four bills on February 27, 2019 which will be conducted in the Hartford Legislative Office Building.
Ned Lamont, the Governor of Connecticut, has publicly expressed his support over the passage of these bills. He posits that the State really needs additional funding from a new source of revenue to implement its projects, and one of the best ways to do this is by legalizing online gambling and sports betting.