The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for individual states to legalize sports gambling by ruling in favor of New Jersey and eliminating the Professional Amateur SportsProtection Act (PASPA) on May 14.
With two of the world’s largest casinos in Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, Connecticut is primed to become a huge player in the budding sports betting industry. Those establishments are right by the border of Rhode Island, a state that legalized sports gambling in 2018 and is targeting an October launch for the industry, putting more pressure on neighboring states.
Connecticut sports betting status
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy was prepared to call a special summer session to legalize sports gambling but ran into roadblocks in the form of the Mashantucket and Pequot tribes that run Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
Those tribes asserted that they have the exclusive right to provide sports betting in Connecticut and seem unwilling to budge on their position because of the belief that casino games are more lucrative.
Violating the compact with the tribes could cost the state 25 percent of slot machine revenue, which translates to over $200 million annually. Still, Malloy and his administration are earnest to strike a deal rather than lose out on potential revenue to neighboring states. Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo has already budgeted an estimated $23 million in revenue from sports betting in 2019.
The state’s 17 off-track betting facilities and Connecticut Lottery contend with the tribes’ claims for exclusivity. Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen supports their contention by asserting that sports betting is not listed as an authorized game in the state constitution.
Despite opposition by the tribes and some Republicans within the state legislation, the current administration continues to move forward and hopes for a vote on the proposed during the 2018 fall session.
Online gambling should become legalized in Connecticut within the year and Malloy hopes that could serve as a compromise with the tribes since it is potentially more lucrative under the current casino model.
Malloy’s complicated negotiations with the tribes should continue throughout the remainder of 2018, which happens to be an election year. The pressure is on the governor to reach an agreement.
Sports Betting FAQ
When will sports betting be legal in Connecticut?
The current state administration is seeking the legalization of sports gambling by the end of 2018, but would have to negotiate with the state’s tribal committee or risk losing out on huge revenue streams.
Where can I place sports bets in Connecticut?
Currently, nowhere. But online betting is available via offshore sites and could become more widely available by 2019.
What sports teams could I bet on in Connecticut?
With no pro sports teams or major venues in Connecticut, a potential agreement is very unlikely to restrict which teams patrons could bet upon unless there is a ban on college sports betting.
Who would oversee Connecticut sports betting?
The Connecticut Gaming Division would oversee sports betting while the state’s Tribal Nations, Lottery and off-track betting sites would vie for pieces of a potential market.
Can I get into trouble for placing bets with unregulated online sportsbooks before it’s legal in Connecticut?
Yes, in order for a sportsbook to be legal it must be sanctioned by the state and placing bets with an unregulated bookkeeper can result in fines and potential jail time.