History Behind Proposed Sports Betting Bill in Connecticut
The attempt to legalize sports betting in Connecticut began prior to the Supreme Court overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. PASPA was passed by the federal government in 1992, and it banned sports betting until it was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2018.
There was a feeling amongst state lawmakers that PASPA would be overturned leading up to the court’s 2018 decision. In 2017, Connecticut lawmakers passed a gaming package that included sports betting. This gave gambling regulators in the state the ability to implement sports betting once the federal government legalized this type of gambling in the United States. However, PASPA was eliminated in 2018, and Connecticut isn’t one of the states that have legalized sports betting just yet.
Connecticut has a tremendous gambling history. The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Indian Tribes operate casinos in the state. The Mashantucket run Foxwoods, which has ties with MGM Grand. The Mohegan tribe operates Mohegan Sun, which is also another popular casino in the state.
Governor Ned Lamont wants to sign a sports betting bill in 2021. However, the tribes and state governments need to come to an agreement over the state’s sports betting blueprint. Sports betting would bring Connecticut an increased revenue stream, so it’s a priority in the state capitol.
What Sports Betting Bill in Connecticut Says
Governor Ned Lamont didn’t want the state’s two tribal nations to have a monopoly over the sports betting industry, but this looks like it will be the case. Senate Bill 146 is expected to be approved during the 2021 legislative session. The bill isn’t overly specific. In fact, it’s only two pages long, but it will grant the tribes the sole ability to offer sports betting.
Both tribes in the state would be able to offer a retail sportsbook on their respective properties. Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods would also have control of mobile sports betting. These online sportsbooks would only be available on tribal land as well.
In addition to an online sportsbook, the tribes would also be able to offer online casino gaming. SB 146 has been backed by 17 Connecticut legislators, so it looks very promising. Two sportsbook operators will enter the state because of this bill. Mohegan Sun has partnered with Kambi, and Foxwoods has hired DraftKings to run its book.
Connecticut doesn’t have a large population. There are only 3.6 million people in the state. Despite this, the wealth per capita in Connecticut is high compared to other areas of the United States. Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are also destination resorts, so they’ll be even more appealing if they solely control the state’s sports betting market.
What’s Holding Sports Betting Bill Back in Connecticut
Sports betting looks promising in 2021 in Connecticut. In fact, Representative Sean Scanlon expressed his positivity for sports betting being legalized in Connecticut this year. Scanlon is the incoming House co-chair for the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee. He has a strong interest in sports betting because the form of gambling is going to drive in extra revenue for the state government.
Every state in the nation needs extra income in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. This fact alone should help accelerate the legislative process. There are still a few things standing in the way of Connecticut sports betting.
The first issue for Connecticut sports betting is the disagreement between Governor Ned Lamont and the state’s tribal nations over the framework of the method of wagering. The Mohegan and Pequot Indians have both made it clear that they believe their tribes have the exclusive right to the state’s sports betting market. Governor Ned Lamont and some state legislators didn’t interpret the tribal compacts in this same way.
It appears the government is willing to bend to bring sports betting to the state. However, the Connecticut government is giving up its sports betting power to the two casinos in the state. The Connecticut legislature will still benefit, but more tax revenue would be generated if widespread mobile betting was available. This isn’t included in the original draft of SB 146.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Connecticut
Connecticut hasn’t had a male professional sports team compete in the state in years. The Hartford Whalers were an NHL franchise that left Connecticut in 1997. The Whalers won two conference championships when they played in Connecticut. The team moved to Carolina and became the Hurricanes in 1997. It’s not uncommon to find Hurricane fans in the state because of their Connecticut ties.
There is one WNBA team to bet in the state of Connecticut. The Connecticut Sun competes in the Eastern Conference of the WNBA. The team plays at Mohegan Sun Arena, so they will most likely be emphasized by the Kambi sportsbook that will be on property at the casino. They have been part of the WNBA for 22 years, but the Sun hasn’t been able to win a league championship just yet. Although, the Sun has competed for a WNBA title twice in 2004 and 2005.
Most bettors in the state support either the New England or New York sports franchises. This typically varies by location in the state. People in the eastern portion of Connecticut favor the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics. The people in Fairfield County, a section of Connecticut that borders New York, are typically die-hard Yankees, Mets, Giants, and Jets fans. This trend is typical, but Connecticut bettors support a wide variety of teams all over the country.
Connecticut Sports Betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Connecticut?
No, sports betting isn’t legal in Connecticut as of the beginning of 2021. A bill has been proposed that is likely to pass during this year’s legislative session.
What’s holding back sports betting in the state?
Prior to 2021, sports betting was being restricted because of disagreements between Governor Lamont and the state’s tribal nations. The tribal nations believed that they should have full control of sports betting. It appears that this will be the case in Connecticut, but Governor Lamont was hopeful that he could compromise with the tribal nations.
What will sports betting look like in Connecticut?
Sports betting will only be available on tribal property. There are two casinos in the state: Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. These properties will offer mobile and retail sports betting. The Kambi will run the book at Mohegan, and DraftKings will operate Foxwoods’ sportsbook.
What will the legal sports betting age be in Connecticut?
The legal sports betting age will be 21. This coincides with the state’s casino betting age.
What’s the expected launch date for sports betting in Connecticut?
Sports betting legislation hasn’t passed yet. Legislators are positive, which is a good sign, but there is still a long legislative process ahead. A sports betting bill is expected to pass in 2021. Depending on the month that a bill clears, sports betting could launch this year. Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods have already made an agreement with Kambi and DraftKings, respectively. These early partnerships should accelerate the launch date once a deal is finalized in the House and Senate.