• The exclusivity of sports betting in Connecticut has been the largest hurdle for the state.
  • Tribal casinos have threatened to stop contributing nearly $250 million should they not get their way.
  • Both the governor and the tribes are interested in a special session to legalize sports betting this year.

HARTFORD, Conn. – It appears that the 2019 Connecticut legislative session will end without the advancement of legalized sports betting.

After a speaking engagement in Hartford, Governor Ned Lamont told reporters about how the state cannot seem to come to an agreement about tribal exclusivity and state-operated sportsbooks.

“From my point of view, I want a global solution to this thing that’s been stuck in legal limbo for an awful long time,” said Lamont.

The General Assembly is set to adjourn in four weeks, on June 5, which still gives the state an opportunity to finish negotiations with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes. Operating the Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun Casino, respectively, the tribes are facing competition from a new MGM casino in Springfield.

As part of their years-long compact, the tribes give 25% of their slot machine revenue to the state – a $250 million estimated contribution that the tribes have threatened to discontinue should they not hold exclusive rights to offer sports betting.

“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that compact stays intact,” Lamont said.

Even with the challenges, the chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, Rodney Butler, wants to see sports betting happen this year, no matter the circumstances.

“Whether it’s this session, a special session, next session, it is what it is but it’s going to take time to figure it out,” Butler said.

The Speaker of the House, Joe Aresimowicz (D- Berlin) has been on record agreeing that a special session should be called if legislators cannot come to an agreement about legal Connecticut sports betting. His thought is the hobby is already taking place through unregulated measures and it is in the state’s best interest to start collecting on the tax dollars.

Estimations place Connecticut earning anywhere from $30 – $50 million in tax contributions from legalized sports betting. However, nationwide revenue projections have been failing to meet expectations in the other states with legal sports betting.

With only four weeks to go, state legislators will have their work cut out for them. Under the proposed sports betting plans in Connecticut, sports betting would be permitted through the state lottery, at tribal and commercial casinos, and with off-track betting facilities.

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