Could New Connecticut Sports Betting Bill Force NY’s Hand?

Could New Connecticut Sports Betting Bill Force NY’s Hand?
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If New York needed any more incentive to legalize a broad online sports betting market, neighboring Connecticut is moving quickly to set up its own market with the tribes in the state.

This comes on the heels of New Jersey posting nearly $1 billion in total sports handle for December, setting new state and national records for a month. Many bettors from New York cross the state line to wager in New Jersey. If Connecticut is successful, it too could attract New York bettors.

RELATED: Pieces in place for legal Connecticut sports betting in2021

The proposed legislation in Connecticut from 17 lawmakers (13 representatives, 4 senators) — SB 146 — was introduced this week and referred to the Committee on Public Safety and Security. It would exclusively give sports betting to the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribal Nations and allow the Connecticut Lottery to conduct online sales, which would include lottery draw game tickets and keno games, pending an agreement with both tribes.

Just last week, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said during his State of the State address that he “looks forward to working with our tribal partners on a path forward to modernize gaming in our state, as well as the legislature on legalization of marijuana. Sports betting, internet gaming and legalized marijuana are happening all around us. Let’s not surrender these opportunities to out-of-state markets or even worse, underground markets.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week also gave hope to New York bettors he endorsed mobile sports betting in one of his State of the State addresses, but wants it run like the state lottery, which is in stark contrast to legislation introduced in New York.

Many states are facing budget shortfalls because of the coronavirus pandemic and sports betting could be a way to generate much-needed revenue and cut into some of those deficits.

With Lamont supporting betting, and the tribes open to it, Connecticut could become the third New England state to legalize sports betting. It’s already legal in Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

DraftKings Has Partnership with Tribe In Connecticut

Both tribes in Connecticut have maintained they have exclusive rights to gaming in the state in exchange for 25% of their slots revenue. That has helped keep any legislative action on sports betting at bay.

Last month, DraftKings and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation entered into an agreement for online sports betting access ahead of sports betting becoming legal.

Before the new legislation was introduced this week in Connecticut, each tribe has partnered with operators in anticipation of gambling expansion. Mohegan Sun has previously partnered with Unibet operator Kindred Group in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

New Jersey Keeps Setting Records

On Wednesday, nearby New Jersey continued its impressive growth and surge as its December sports betting handle finished just shy of $1 billion.

Ner Jersey topped $900 million for the second straight month in total sports betting handle, with $996.3 million in December. That was an increase of 6.9% from November’s $931.6 million, the previous record.

The 2020 total handle in New Jersey was just over $6 billion, a 30.4% increase over 2019. Of the total handle in 2020, $5.53 billion was wagered online — about 92%. Sports wagering revenue in 2020 was $398.5 million for the state.

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