Connecticut State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) and members of the Southeastern Connecticut legislative delegation have submitted a bipartisan bill for the 2019 legislative session that would amend Connecticut’s existing state laws to allow for online and in-person sports betting at the state’s casinos.
Bill LCO 578 is co-sponsored by Senators Osten, Steve Cassano, Paul Formica, Heather Somers, and Senator-elect Needleman, and by state Republicans Ryan, Christine Conley, Emmett Riley, Joe de la Cruz, Susan Johnson, Doug Dubitsky, Mike France and Holly Cheeseman. It proposes to include age and location verification requirements designed to block online access to persons under the age of 21 from betting on sports.
Osten, who represents Ledyard and a portion of Montville, home to Connecticut’s two Native American tribes that already operate gaming casinos, explained: “Connecticut needs to play catch-up with surrounding states if we’re serious about modernizing our existing gaming industry. Fortunately, we can do that with a relatively simple regulatory fix.”
She continued: “The US Supreme Court decision last year paved the way for the expansion of private sector sports betting, and I think Connecticut is in a good position to take advantage of that. We have the infrastructure with the tribal casinos, we can use the new revenue, and we’ve got bipartisan support. This should be an early session success story.”
Senator Needleman added: “Neighboring states are already ahead of Connecticut on sports betting, but I think it’s an issue we can quickly catch up on that will have positive employment, economic and revenue impacts on Connecticut. Two of Connecticut’s top-10 largest employers will benefit from this bill. The US Supreme Court has already cleared the way legally, so I believe it’s incumbent on us as state policymakers to do what’s necessary to remain relevant and profitable in a rapidly expanding new national industry.”
Since last May, when the United States Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law banning sports wagering, eight states now offer legalized sports betting, including nearby Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. New York has passed enabling legislation but has not yet instituted sports betting, and several other US states, including Connecticut, are now considering it. Rhode Island, which launched sports betting in November, estimates it will collect $11.5m in new state revenue in its first seven months of operation.