Lawmakers in CT introduce bill to allow in-state college sports betting

Connecticut College Sports Betting
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Connecticut lawmakers are considering a change to the state’s sports betting law.

Lawmakers in the Constitution State are launching initiatives aimed at authorizing sports wagering on in-state universities following the recent success of the University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball programs. Earlier this month, UConn’s men’s basketball team captured its second consecutive national title while the university’s heralded women’s squad made it to the Final Four for the 23rd time in program history.

The success of UConn’s athletic programs warrants a statewide response to change the current gaming law, which bans wagering on in-state universities and college player props. Despite the teams’ success and calls for change, college-centric wagering has opponents.

“Gov. Ned Lamont is one of the UConn Huskies’ biggest fans, but he agrees with Connecticut’s Higher Education leaders that residents here should not be able to bet on UConn games,” Julia Bergman, spokeswoman for Lamont, told NBC.

Connecticut lawmakers are looking to make changes to the state’s gaming law through File No. 271. A caveat to the bill’s language is only allowing wagering on in-state institutions while teams are participating in tournaments, which mirrors Massachusetts law. College sports betting is projected to add up to $1 million in revenue annually starting in FY2025.

File No. 271, HB 5284’s substitute, also proposes a slew of other gaming amendments.

Advertising bans also in Connecticut gaming bill

File No. 271, supported by the Committee on Public Safety and Security, is proposing changes to gambling-related marketing with the ban of celebrities in advertising. The measure also requires ads to feature patrons 21 years or older with their delivery barred where the “majority of the viewers or participants is presumed to be under the age of 21.”

Marketing through media and social media channels that appeal to minors is also prohibited.

The measure takes a varying stance on affiliate marketing deals with licensees barred from securing deals with third-party advertisers whose “compensation is dependent on, or related to, the volume of individuals who become patrons, the volume or amount of wagers placed or the outcome of wagers.”

Despite Connecticut only allowing patrons 21 years or older to wager on sports, File No. 271 continues to allow individuals 18 years of age or older to play the lottery, keno, and DFS. Under the bill, lottery systems, draw games, and keno systems must be evaluated and certified by a gaming laboratory assigned from the Department of Consumer Protection.

File No. 271 has been sent to the House Floor for further consideration after gaining approval by the Legislative Commissioners’ Office. Lawmakers in the Constitution State have until May 8, the end of the General Assembly session, to pass File No. 271 in 2024.