Connecticut Sports Betting Progresses Along Legislative Path

Connecticut Sports Betting Progresses Along Legislative Path
© USA Today

Connecticut sports betting legislation is moving along a week after the state reached deals with two tribes to expand gaming.

The state’s Joint Public Safety and Security Committee this week moved several bills that support Gov. Ned Lamont’s HB 6451, the key bill that was passed just eight days ago.

Lamont, the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe announced on March 18 that an agreement has been reached that will allow Connecticut to offer sports betting and online casino gaming.

Connecticut could become the third New England state to launch sports betting, joining Rhode Island and New Hampshire. The other three states — Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont — have also explored legalizing sports betting.

The goal appears to be to have sports betting in place for the 2021 NFL season.

The three bills approved out of the Public Safety and Security Committee on Wednesday include HB06512, which concerns consumer protections for sports wagering (23-1 vote); SB00146, which authorizes sports wagering, online casino gaming, online lottery and online keno (21-3 vote); and SB00570, which authorizes a tribal resort-casino in Bridgeport, sports wagering, online casino gaming and online lottery (18-6).

All three have been filed with the Legislative Commissioners’ Office (LCO), which drafts the official legislation to be voted upon by the full legislature. Usually the process takes 10-15 days (10 days with LCO, five additional days for research) before an official document can be presented to the floor for a vote.

Details of Connecticut Gaming Agreement

The 10-year license agreement with the tribes includes a five-year extension option.

The agreement includes the Connecticut Lottery Corp. as a partner. Some of the key components, according to the release announcing the deal, include:

  • An 18% tax rate for the first five years on new iGaming offerings, followed by a 20% tax rate for at least the next five years.
  • A 13.75% tax rate on sports wagering.
  • The Connecticut Lottery will be able to operate 15 retail sports betting locations, as well as operate an online sports betting skin.
  • The Connecticut Lottery will have the right to sublicense locations to the state-licensed parimutuel operator and will undertake new retail sports betting venues in Hartford and Bridgeport.
  • Expansion of iLottery and Keno through the Connecticut Lottery Corp., including selling draw tickets online.

And it now appears that the legislature is progressing with efforts to make gaming expansion in the state a reality.

“Connecticut is on the cusp of providing a modern, technologically advanced gaming experience for our residents, which will be competitive with our neighboring states,” Lamont said when the deal was announced last week. “Our state’s tribal partners have worked with my administration thoughtfully, deliberately, and in a constructive fashion for the past few months, and we have achieved an agreement that is best for Connecticut residents and their respective tribal members. We will work to see it ratified and look forward to doing so through a collaborative effort, to include working with elected leaders in the General Assembly.”

Lamont expressed optimism months ago when he released his two-year budget and indicated he expected $50 million in revenue from online sports wagering, iGaming and iLottery.

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