Legalized sports betting in CT would have to overcome long odds

Posted: Updated:
STAMFORD -

As sports betting became legal Thursday in nearby New Jersey, Gov. Dannel Malloy said it's a longshot here in Connecticut, for now.

Bobby V's in Stamford, where horse race betting is currently allowed, says it could have broader sports betting up and running in a matter of weeks, if the state legalized it.

But the state won't legalize it without an agreement with the tribes running Foxwood and Mohegan Sun, who are the only groups allowed to run casinos in the state, Malloy said.

The tribes are asserting that those exclusive rights give them control over sports betting, too.

"Because of the situation long ago established in Connecticut, until we have an agreement with the tribal nations on how to proceed with respect to their rights, we can't proceed at all," Malloy said.

Violating the deal could cost the state about $200 million in slot revenues.

He added that he is trying to negotiate a compromise that would let places like Bobby V's offer sports betting, but any deal between the governor and the tribes would also require approval from state lawmakers.

The more time that takes, according to Malloy, the more gambling revenue will be lost to other states that have already legalized sports betting.

Another sticking point is the debate over online wagering.

Should people be able to place bets on their phones? That's something lawmakers would need to work out.

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