'It's time to legalize sports betting' - CT lawmakers meet to discuss gambling expansion

State lawmakers once again took up online betting and wagering on sports during a hearing Tuesday, but there are some signs both could actually happen this year.

News 12 Staff

Jan 26, 2021, 11:06 PM

Updated 1,245 days ago

Share:

State lawmakers once again took up online betting and wagering on sports during a hearing Tuesday, but there are some signs both could actually happen this year.
In Connecticut, you'll have to drive hours to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun if you want to make bets - a risky gamble during a pandemic.
"It's time. It's time to legalize sports betting in Connecticut," says Rob Simmelkjaer, of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation.
It could mean major money. New Jersey racked up $6 billion in sports wagers just last year, and 91% of those bets were online.
That comes out to $65 million in tax revenue.
But in Connecticut, the effort is stalled because of a turf war between the state's casinos and other operators like Bobby V's in Stamford.
"When we look at the actual compact, sports betting is not included as one of the list of authorized games," says Sportech Venues chief legal officer Rich Pingel when asked about how Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have exclusive rights to casino games.
So far, Gov. Ned Lamont has been unable to work out a deal.
"No, but we are talking," he says. "There are a lot of variables here in terms of number of skins, exclusivity, fees that go back and forth."
But the casinos are finally willing to compromise - with COVID-19 hitting them hard. Online and sports wagers could save their bottom line.
"We're willing to talk and be reasonable and negotiate. That's what partners do," says Mohegan Tribal Chief of Staff Chuck Bunnel.
Lawmakers are losing patience.
"We've talked about this over and over, and we end up with nothing because everyone takes their ball, goes in the corner and refuses to give an inch," says state Rep. Kurt Vail.
It's not just lawmakers who are frustrated - so are gamblers. This year, though, the odds seem a little better.


More from News 12