As the New Year is in full swing, many states are considering new industries or actions that will bring in new revenue streams. Over the years, many lawmakers have seen the introduction of sports betting, the lottery, online poker, and casino gaming as a solid source for new revenues. After the US was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic and all casinos shut down and then reopened at lower capacity, budgets took a huge hit. With iGaming, it would be a steady source of income that would not stop if another pandemic or other issue occurred. In Connecticut, lawmakers have introduced new legislation to consider both sports betting and online casinos as a new form of revenue.
SB 146 is the new bill introduced this year, with lawmakers seeking to legalize a full spectrum of iGaming. The bill does not include a ton of details but provides the gist of what proponents would like to see happen.
The bill places the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan tribes as the only operators when it comes to the online casino and sports betting services. The tribes and the state would have to come to a new or amended compact agreement for this to work.
The state lottery would be allowed to sell tickets online as well as offer keno gaming. This bill would provide several forms of iGaming, with the potential to bring in solid revenues for the state. Support is needed from the tribes and Governor Ned Lamont to move forward.
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The governor along with other lawmakers have been positive in the past regarding sports betting legalization. The fact that other components are in the mix could be a negative or positive. It is unknown at this point.
Is There Opposition?
With every new introduction of legislation, no matter the type, there is always some form of opposition. When it comes to gambling, the opposition can fight with all they have to keep the activity from taking place. In Connecticut, a potential issue might arise via Sportech. This company is the operator of the off-track betting facilities in the state.
Sportech would like to be part of sports betting if it is legalized in the state. Based on the new legislation, the tribes would have the monopoly. MGM Resorts could also be a potential problem as the company has tried to bring a casino to the state, however, they seem to be pulling away from the idea.
With the legislation newly introduced, additional opponents could arise at any time. Religious groups often come forward with negatives about the industry, stressing that crime will increase along with addiction, financial struggles, divorce, etc. This has not happened yet, but it will most likely be coming in the future.
For now, the new legislation will need to move through the standard process. The new session has just started and will not be completed until June. There is plenty of time to discuss this new measure. We shall see in the coming weeks if the bill gains ground or if lawmakers are just not ready to make the jump into a new gambling sector.