The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Security of Connecticut will take a closer look at two sports betting bills this week. While both the bills are largely similar to each other, one bill provides more exclusivity to some tribes. The second bill is also tribal but doesn’t mention tribes specifically.
What do the bills suggest?
The first bill will be tabled by West Hartford Democrat Joe Verrengia, who is also the Chairman of the committee. He suggests the legalization of retail and mobile sportsbooks in the state but restricts outside sportsbooks to operate. It provides two tribal casinos the authority to run the sportsbooks alongside some facilities that sell state lottery.
Mashantucket Pequot Tribe chairman Rodney Butler commented on the bill and said, “We’d be happy to entertain sports betting legislation that recognizes our exclusivity provisions and long-time partnership with the state. However, the devil is always in the detail and that’s where the path forward has become encumbered in the past.”
Note that CT SB21 gives exclusive sportsbook operation rights to Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. They will also be given the right to sell lottery tickets. Moreover, all retail and mobile betting platforms must be located on Tribal land.
Is exclusivity essential for sports betting?
Committee Chairman Verrengia and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont believe that sports betting should not be exclusive to tribal lands. The state should adopt a broader approach to wagering. Both bills will be heard by the Committee this week and could play an instrumental role in deciding the fate of legal sports wagering in the state.
Stakeholders will participate in a hearing on February 11. A public hearing is scheduled for February 25 to discuss the topic. After this, the state will have time till June 2020 to decide if it wants to legalize athletics wagering in the state.