The Connecticut Senate voted to approve sports betting earlier this week, but there were some lengthy discussions around the bill. House Bill 6451 was needing Senate approval after that piece of legislation quickly made it through the House of Representatives in Connecticut.
The final vote count was 28-6 in favor of passing the bill, but there were some strong opponents that voiced concerns on the Senate floor. HB 6451 allows Governor Ned Lamont to make the previously agreed upon gaming compacts with the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan Indian tribes official.
Once Lamont signs HB 6451 into law, which is expected to occur early next week, sports betting will become legal in Connecticut. The US Department of Interior will also have to sign off on the gaming compacts, but all of the work at the state level would be done.
Senator Cathy Osten said, “I’m hoping that the governor signs it tonight and that we send it down to the Bureau of Indian Affairs where it should get a quick review and come back to us so that those people who like sports betting and online gaming will be able to participate as early as this fall.”
The ultimate goal is to have sports betting up and running before the start of the 2021 NFL season, and that is a realistic target date. Connecticut will join Rhode Island and New Hampshire as the only three states in New England with legal sports betting, but that could change before long.
Lamont and the Native American tribes have been working on a new gaming compact for months and wanted one that was centered around sports betting. Both tribes previously thanked the legislature for working together to get this bill passed.
House Bill 6451 was a bi-partisan bill, and it continued to gain support as it moved through the legislature. The COVID-19 pandemic hurt the financial situation in Connecticut, and the belief is that sports betting will help bring in new revenue.
Details of Sports Betting
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe owns and operates Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, and the Mohegan Indians own the Mohegan Sun. Both of these casinos can open up a retail sportsbook on-site, and the tribes can also offer online sports betting.
The Connecticut State Lottery will be able to offer online sports betting as well, and that group is looking for an online operator to partner with. Earlier this week, the Lottery Corp announced that it had received interest from at least 15 different companies.
This bill also allows the state to set up 15 retail locations throughout Connecticut, and those locations have not yet been chosen at this time. These will be small sports betting kiosks and shouldn’t pose a real threat to the tribal properties.
Sports betting revenue will be taxed at a rate of 13.75%, and Daily Fantasy Sports betting will also follow that same tax rate. DFS operators will have to become licensed and regulated by the state under this new law.
Online casino gaming was also included, and that industry will be taxed at a rate of 18% for the first five years.