Bills to legalize sports betting in CT will go before the Committee on Public Safety & Security this week.

  • There are two bills in Connecticut to legalize wagering on sports matches that are getting attention by legislatures.
  • Both bills would make sportsbooks with the Tribes of the state legal for retail and mobile platforms.
  • The sports betting market is estimated to see $20 million in annual revenue should the pastime become legal.

HARTFORD, Conn. – Bills to legalize sports betting in the state of Connecticut are set to go before the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Security later this week. One bill has a name while the other does not. They are both very similar to one another however, one offers exclusivity to certain Tribes while the other is Tribal but not specific.

The Bills That Could Make Sports Betting Legal In CT

The Chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and Security, Joe Verrengia (D-West Hartford), is proposing an elusive bill that is set to take the floor. Verrengia says that his bill would legalize both mobile and retail sportsbooks in Connecticut.

The locations would be at the two Tribal casinos in the states as well as a few facilities that sell state lottery tickets and off-track betting venues. Outside sportsbooks like MGM would not be allowed to do business in the state with this bill.

“We’d be happy to entertain sports betting legislation that recognizes our exclusivity provisions and long-time partnership with the state,” said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. “However, the devil is always in the detail and that’s where the path forward has become encumbered in the past.”

And that’s where CT SB21 comes in. This bill would give authorization to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut to have exclusivity over the sportsbooks in the state. This would mean that all mobile platforms and retail locations would need to be on Tribal land. It would give Tribes the choice of selling lottery tickets at their establishments as well.

The Takeaway

Both bills would allow residents to wager on sporting events legally. Governor Ned Lamont has similar views to Verrengia to expand sports betting beyond Tribal lands and allow for it to be included at multiple locations that are in the business of gaming.

Both bills are set to be heard this week and voted on to see where the fate of legal sports betting in Connecticut lies for 2020.

“Let’s keep it simple,” said Lamont. “Sports betting, I think, is something where I think we can reach broad agreement going forward.”

A hearing will take place on February 11 for stakeholders, followed by a public hearing on February 25 to discuss the topic further. The Legislature has until June to decide whether to legalize gambling on sports in the Nutmeg State.

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