Draft sports betting bill introduced in Connecticut

Connecticut lawmakers are taking another swing at legalizing sports betting.

On 31 July 2019, Connecticut legislators revealed a draft bill that would expand the state’s gambling industry.

The bill is “an act concerning jobs in and revenue from the gaming industry,” and aims to legalize sports wagering in the Constitution State.

Senator Cathy Osten, the author of the bill, hopes to convene a special session of the state legislature to officially introduce the bill later this year. However, if a special session is not held, Osten will officially introduce the bill during the state’s 2020 legislative session.

What’s covered in the bill?

The proposed legislation would allow the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan tribes to open land-based sportsbooks at their venues.

The bill will also grant the tribes the exclusive right to offer online sports betting, online casino games and online poker in the state of Connecticut. The tribes will allow be able to offer e-sports products.

While the tribes will be allowed to offer several different forms of online gambling, the Connecticut Lottery would be allowed to sell tickets online and offer online keno games.

The tribes will also be granted permission to build a new casino in Bridgeport which will be run by both tribal groups.

Under the bill, online gambling revenue will be subject to a tax rate of 10%, while land-based sports betting will be subject to an 8% tax rate. The 36-page bill does not cover licensing fees.

The bill does not go into a lot of detail on sports betting but does state that wagering on high school events will be prohibited.

Opposition from Governor

Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont does not support the bill in its current state.

In a statement issued last week, Lamont said “a matter of such significance requires substantial involvement from multiple stakeholders, in particular, the executive branch. Something this complex should not be negotiated without all necessary parties and certainly not behind closed doors.”

A report from WSHUalso quoted Lamont as saying “I do have an ongoing concern that sports betting and internet gambling have been locked up with a legal cloud hanging over it for a while. So I’ve got to make sure that any deal we are able to come forward with does not lead us to another year upon year of litigation, and stop us dead in the tracks.”

The bill could also come under fire from MGM Resorts, which has lobbied for the rights to run its own casino in the Bridgeport area.

Elsewhere in the US, Iowa plans to launch sports betting on 15 August.

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