Sports wagering legalization discussed at state Capitol

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An informational hearing was held in Hartford Tuesday regarding the legalization of sports betting in the state.

At the meeting, lawmakers heard from off-track betting spots, like Bobby V’s in Stamford, and from casinos Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

The casinos say they have the exclusive rights to sports gambling under a 30-year-old deal with the state.

"The tribes have been clear that sports gaming is considered casino gaming,” says Ray Pineault, the president of Mohegan Sun.

However, during the meeting in the state Capitol, there was a hint of compromise from the tribe that runs gambling at Foxwoods. They say they are open to cutting private operators in, but only on their behalf.

"We're going to need somebody to operate it. They have great facilities in Stamford and at the airport…that's something we could build off of,” says Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Nation.

Sportech Venues, an OTB operator, says the change wouldn’t be so simple.

"I think that would be a very challenging compromise because, I think the one challenge for everybody is that we don't believe that the [contract] allows the tribes complete exclusivity,” says Sportech Venues President Ted Taylor.

Rhode Island and New Jersey already offer sports betting, and Massachusetts may pass it this year.

 

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