Connecticut to convene special session on sports betting but ignore online gaming

State lawmakers keen to profit from sports betting but say online gaming is too complex to be discussed in a special session

Connecticut lawmakers look set to convene a special session of the state’s General Assembly to discuss sports betting legalization, but have confirmed they are unlikely to discuss online gaming at the same time.

In meetings on Friday, the consensus from delegates was that online gaming required more study and public debate before legalization could be considered.

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter rubbished the chances of including it in the special session, telling The Day newspaper: “A special session does not lend itself to something so complicated. How do you verify age? How does it work when you go across the border? Are there daily limits?

Deputy House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora echoed Ritter’s comments, adding that “We really need to have the capacity for a full public hearing process and have it vetted. Unlike other issues, there’s not necessarily a deadline that is required of us to act.”

Candelora was referring to sports betting and the repeal of PASPA, which has sparked a legislative scramble in states across the US, including in Connecticut’s neighbours Delaware, New York and New Jersey.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P.Malloy said last week: “It is incumbent on us to consider the question of legalized sports betting in a thoughtful way that … fully realizes the economic potential that this opportunity provides.”

Malloy is also involved in new compact negotiations with the state’s two tribes, the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots, to extend the compacts to sports betting.

Both tribes have expressed their support for the legalisation of online gambling, with Seth Young, executive director of online gaming at the Mohegan’s Foxwoods Resort, saying recently: “As we see it, the strongest opportunity for the state is in legalizing statewide iGaming [over sports betting].”

Speaking about negotiations, Malloy said: “I think that the tribal nations are in a position to deal with reality, and if the reality is the legislature is not going to take up online gaming separate and apart from whatever is required from sports betting, that’s the situation.”

According to The Day, a special session will not be called until a new compact is struck.

Connecticut | Legalisation | Legislation | Mohegan | Regulation | Sports betting | Sports betting | State | Tribes