Connecticut May See Special Session To Decide On Sports Betting | Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut May See Special Session To Decide On Sports Betting

May 14, 2018

Governor Dannel Malloy may call the legislature back into special session to deal with sports gambling now that the Supreme Court has given states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports. 

The Supreme Court ruled Monday to strike down a 1992 law that barred state-authorized sports betting with the exception of Nevada. Now states, including Connecticut, are scrambling to get a state wagering system up and running.

Two bills that anticipated today's Supreme Court decision weren’t brought for a vote before the end of the regular session. Both bills would have established a tax and regulatory framework for sports betting.

According to the Office of Fiscal Analysis, sports betting would garner more than $2 million in 2019, and $4 million in 2020.

But the big question moving forward is whether establishing sports wagering outside of Connecticut's two casinos would negate the state's compact with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes, and put millions in slot machine revenue in jeopardy.

Earlier this year, state Attorney General George Jepsen gave an opinion to the General Assembly that sports gambling would not interfere with the existing compact.

Democratic state Representative Joe Verrengia said the House bill would set Connecticut apart from other states considering sports betting.

"In short, this model requires that the professional sports leagues partner with the state of Connecticut," Verrengia said. "As part of that partnership, certain dollars would flow into the leagues, but equally as important, certain dollars would flow back into the state, by arranging to bring major sporting events here to the state."

In a statement Monday, Malloy said, "it is incumbent on us to consider the question of legalized sports betting in a thoughtful way that ensures our approach is responsible, smart, and fully realizes the economic potential that this opportunity provides.”