Connecticut bill would legalise sports betting at casinos

The bill would allow two tribes to offer sports betting at their facilities and online. Credits:
The bill would allow two tribes to offer sports betting at their facilities and online. Credits:

A new bill introduced this week would allow two tribes to offer sports betting at their facilities.

US.- Members of the southeastern Connecticut’s legislative delegation along with state Senator Cathy Osten announced this week that they have submitted a bill that aims to allow the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to provide sports betting services online and in-person at their facilities.

The bill that would authorise the tribes to offer sports betting services would also allow the Connecticut Lottery Corp to operate online keno within the state “pursuant to agreements” with the tribes.

The bill establishes that people must be at least 23 years old in order to access online sports betting, while they must be 18 to access online keno. The bill was prepared by more than a dozen lawmakers, senators and representatives from both parties.

“The Mohegan Tribal Council deeply appreciates the bipartisan and bicameral support,” Chuck Bunnell, the Mohegans’ chief of staff, said. “The respect for our government-to-government agreements and the need to keep Connecticut competitive is being recognized and we stand by those who stand for Connecticut.”

While the legislative session starts today, Osten said that preparing a bill beforehand started the conversation at a very early point. “I’d like to see action on this as soon as possible.”

Osten added that the proposed bill is likely to change throughout the whole legislative process and could also authorize sports betting at other locations, which would also lead to more conversations with the tribes. The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes have existing agreements with the state that grants them exclusive right to provide sports betting.

“Connecticut needs to play catch-up with surrounding states if we’re serious about modernising our existing gaming industry,” Osten said in a statement. “Fortunately, we can do that with a relatively simple regulatory fix. The U.S. 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.”

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