After years of debate and failed negotiations with the state’s two federally recognized tribal nations, a long-awaited gambling expansion bill passed the Connecticut Senate late Tuesday. This brings the state closer to finally legalizing sports betting and online wagering.
It allows the governor to amend the state’s gambling compacts with tribes. This allows both to offer sports betting, online gambling, and online fantasy sports in exchange for a share of the revenues.
State Sen. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, consistently opposed gambling expansion legislation. He warned that allowing online gambling and sports betting would only exacerbate the state’s gambling addiction problem. He particularly highlighted this issue among the younger generation who grew up with smartphones.
The Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association has also expressed concern about the bill. It stated that many Connecticut residents who play fantasy sports for a living will be unable to participate in the upcoming NFL season if the bill passes. The bill prevents fantasy sports companies from operating in Connecticut after July 1. It will be until the state establishes a licensing system and these companies are approved for a license.
Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, expressed enthusiasm for the legislation’s passing in the Senate. Butler has been urging the Connecticut General Assembly to pass legislation legalizing sports betting and internet gambling for years.