Connecticut Online Gambling is on its way to legalization
July 12, 2021
Ned Lamont, the governor of Connecticut, fully supports and hopes for the legalization of online gambling because he believes that it would bring his state much-needed revenue. He wants to capitalize on the opportunity of online gambling and sports betting. While he wants to do this, he has found himself facing many impassable obstacles.
What's Stopping Connecticut's Legalization of Online Gambling?
Before Connecticut can legalize online gambling, the state, like many others, first needs to maneuver past the tribal compacts. The task proves no small feat as they have reportedly taken measures to protect their share of the market.
Lamont said, however, that he made progress in the right direction. He and his administration have worked in close coordination with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes to open up the gambling options within the state.
While Lamont praised the progress made, he never indicated how far along in the negotiations they have come. Left up to Governor Lamont, he would have legalized it yesterday, but he must first convince the state tribes to agree to it. That has proven problematic because of how it may cut into their shares of the profits if not done correctly. Some of the surrounding states like New Jersey have already legalized online gambling. New York has legalized online sports betting, and Governor Lamont says that he wants Connecticut to keep up with the neighboring states.
Overcoming a Stalemate
Already having tried to legalize online gambling two years ago, the negotiations ended in a stalemate. At that time, he tried to put the tribes into a joint casino project in Bridgeport, rather than Windsor. Despite his best efforts to bring them in with iGaming and sports gambling, the tribes eventually rejected the proposal saying that they had no interest in either.
COVID-19: Tribes Brought Back to the Table
The two tribes may have seen the wisdom of allowing online gambling in the state because of the business difficulties due to COVID-19. When COVID-19 struck, many industries suffered, including the gambling industry. Some believe that it cost the gambling industry over $2 billion, and some casinos closed their doors forever. This may have been what spurred the tribes back to the negotiation table for online gambling. With COVID having no end in sight, despite the vaccines, they need to open up new revenue streams, which has made them more open to online gambling.
Most experts believe that they have reached an agreement on bringing sport betting and online gambling to Connecticut, but who has exclusivity remains an ongoing source of conflict. Based on the current compact, the tribes wouldn't need to forfeit more than 25 percent of their slots' revenue.
The negotiations between Governor Lamont and the two tribes will stipulate what the future of gambling looks like in the state. Most, however, believe that online gambling is on its way to legalization. It's just a matter of time. Other states have found themselves having the same difficulties, but COVID-19 may have opened up possibilities that were once closed.