Despite high hopes that Connecticut would introduce sweeping gambling expansions during its 2018 legislative session, the state was forced to close the session without any major advances on this front. At one point, there were hopes that Connecticut would see the introduction of an online lottery, the legalization of sports betting and even land based casino expansion. However, gambling proponents were forced to admit defeat and will need to wait until lawmakers reconvene next year.
The silver lining is, of course, that the genie has been let out of the bottle and the stage has been set for the conversation to recommence in 2019. Lawmakers will have time to study the issues further, and perhaps by then the Supreme Court will have made its decision regarding the future of sports betting in the United States.
In states where gaming expansion has been discussed, the topic has proven to be tricky when tribal casinos are also involved. Connecticut became fairly optimistic when both its gaming tribes, the Mohegan and the Mashantucket Pequot stated their support for the legalization of sports betting and online gambling.
Seth Young, the executive director for online gambling for Foxwoods aid earlier this year: ““I am here to express the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation’s support for legal sports gambling – both on-reservation and online – and more broadly, for regulated online gambling.”
When progress wasn’t made in time before the end of the 2018 legislative session, Young tweeted: “Sports betting legislation in CT is dead for the session, which ended late last night. Here’s to next session.”
The Mohegan Sun also expressed its support and wrote in a written testimony: “To clarify, I believe that the state of Connecticut will benefit from both online casino gaming and sport wagering as it will reduce unregulated bets that are done locally and off-shore, and increase state revenues.”
It remains to be seen whether lawmakers will recognize the urgency of introducing sports betting legislation if the Supreme Court overturns the controversial PASPA law of 1992, and bring Connecticut in line with other stands who have already passed legislation to allow sports betting.