Lawmakers in Connecticut have a lot on their plate this week. In addition to their many other duties, they are also reviewing four different gambling bills in an effort to quickly approve legislation that will allow the state to join the growing list of jurisdictions across the U.S. that are eager to tap into the multi-billion dollar sports gambling industry.
According to local media outlet The Day, a bill submitted by Senator Cathy Osten would allow the two federally recognized tribes in the state, the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots, to launch sportsbooks via their casinos and on mobile platform. If that bill is accepted, the Connecticut Lottery would also be allowed to offer an online keno product through an agreement with the two tribes.
Another bill would see the launch of the Connecticut Gaming Commission and would authorize a competitive bidding process for an integrated casino resort in the Connecticut city of Bridgeport. MGM is behind the bill and has been trying to get it approved for a couple of years. A similar piece of legislation was introduced in 2017, but didn’t survive long enough to make it the House floor.
Another bill would eliminate the requirement that tribes receive federal approval to launch operations in the state. This would ultimately allow the two tribes to create a joint casino project, in line with a plan they have been discussing for a few years. They have already been given approval to build a casino resort in East Windsor, but the U.S. Department of the Interior has only acknowledged the compact the Mohegan tribe has with Connecticut, while not commenting on the compact involving the Pequot tribe.
Yet another bill only looks at sports gambling legalization, ostensibly in an effort to find faster approval and allow the state to compete with Rhode Island, the only other state in the area to have approved sports gambling.
The Connecticut Public Safety and Security Committee will hold a hearing on all four bills on Wednesday (Feb. 27). That hearing will be conducted in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
During a budget speech last week, the state’s governor, Ned Lamont, hinted at his support for sports gambling legislation. He stated that Connecticut needs new source of revenue, adding that online and sports gambling could be perfect solutions.