Richard McGuire, CEO of Sportech, one of Connecticut’s approved licensed gaming operators managing off-track betting facilities including one in Bridgeport, writes in a commentary “Licensing existing gaming partners to offer Sports Betting provides consumers a competitive choice; critical to a healthy legal Sports Betting marketplace.”
Passion and hope are at the heart of every fan’s love for the game and their team. We cheer their victories but even in the face of defeat, we never lose hope that they’ll come through. Much like the Kansas City Chiefs’ comeback to win Super Bowl LV, Sports Betting legislation appears to be resurgent in Connecticut’s 2020 legislative session and hope rises once again that local parties can come together and deliver a positive result for Connecticut.
As CEO of Sportech, one of Connecticut’s approved licensed gaming operators, I say Let’s go! The time for legal Sports Betting in Connecticut is now and the solution is clear. But we need to stop the timeouts that are preventing us from making the goal.
Sportech’s Connecticut business–consisting of Winners OTB, MyWinners.com, and Bobby V’s–has been an upstanding partner to Connecticut since 1993, is the only gaming entity currently approved to take bets both online and in our venues across Connecticut and already has in place the infrastructure, technology and expertise to add Sports Betting.
In addition to Sportech, the State has two outstanding casinos, a Tribal joint venture, and the State Lottery. All these entities are capable of offering Sports Betting to consumers, providing requisite competition without a proliferation of gaming operators.
So why is Connecticut always in a timeout when it comes to Sports Betting?
First timeout: The Tribes argue that they have exclusive rights to Sports Betting under existing State agreements and are focused on blocking all others from making the roster, even though they can’t play the game at this stage. Read for more rules in Yêu cá cược mà dịch Covid phải ở nhà, đã có KU Việt Casino lo cho bạn :))
The suggestion provided is that Sports Betting is a ‘casino game.’ It is not now, nor has it ever been, classified as a casino game by the compacts, the State of Connecticut, or the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
The Tribal compacts are serious documents negotiated by serious people. Sports Betting is conspicuously absent from the compacts’ lengthy list of authorized games.
Indeed, in 2018 then-Attorney General George Jepsen confirmed that the State’s existing compacts do not provide any authority for the Tribes to conduct Sports Betting on their reservations, let alone outside of them, and noted that the existing compacts would not be affected should the State decide to award Sports Betting licenses to other entities. AG Jepsen further added that granting exclusivity to the Tribes may violate the Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. and State Constitutions and likely result in a protracted legal challenge against the State.
Second timeout: The Tribes have implied that should the State award Sports Betting licenses to anyone else, they may break their agreement, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and stop paying the $250 million in annual payments to the State.
However, this payment isn’t voluntary; it’s a commercial agreement between parties. Should it be broken the Tribes risk forfeiting the benefits from that agreement: the ability to operate slots in their casinos, $750 million gross revenue annually, and the casino monopoly position across the State. That’s what the agreed payments are for. If the Tribes break the agreement it’s not good for Connecticut, but I would suggest it’s catastrophic for the Tribes.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to avoid unnecessary risk and deliver for Connecticut.
To get back on track with Sports Betting, the State could take a cue from the successful New Jersey model by granting licenses for both retail and online Sports Betting to existing State gaming operators, now. This approach will protect existing jobs, drive incremental State revenue from established licensees and tackle the illegal market. Licensing existing gaming partners to offer Sports Betting provides consumers a competitive choice; critical to a healthy legal Sports Betting marketplace.
Connecticut already lags other states and is missing out. Granting a Sports Betting monopoly to the Tribes and tying up the implementation with a protracted legal fight will only put Connecticut further behind the eight ball as more neighboring states legalize Sports Betting.
Connecticut can enact Sports Betting legislation now and empower all the existing gaming operators who have partnered with Connecticut for over a quarter century to deliver it responsibly. End these needless timeouts and let’s work as team to get this over the goal line.
Let’s go, Connecticut!
Interesting takeaway on the Tribes stick em up job for years on exclusivity claim. Time to smoke the peace pipe and get this done!
Let MGM eat!
Marvin, MGM is eating., They own casinos to North and South of Connecticut.
I find it interesting all the talk about MGM suing the state for its negotiation with the Indians, seems like the sports betting people have a sound suit themselves.
The Indians are trying to make that pact into everything. Can’t play the state like that.
There is Avery big difference. The sports betting in other states is not taking away from CT. For someone as knowledgeable as he appears to be he is very deficient in his thinking on this point.
Stick to your make believe scenarios and leave the serious negotiations to those empowered to do so.
Who would that be? You should MYOB on the MOU question.
You can go to Rhode Island or the Meadowlands and place an in-house wager. New Yorkers last year bet an estimated 837 million dollars in New Jersey.
You should stay in your own lane.
New Yorkers bet an estimated $837M in New Jersey.
Nuff said. Where does CT come into play?
Truly; the situation with sports betting raises serious questions about how we do business and regulate businesses and services in CT. The gamut of public utilities are “regulated”, by statute, but the state still allows the wholesale fleecing of consumers by all of the utilities — if they want an increase, they get it, whether or not it takes their profits over statutory limits… And if they make bad decisions or otherwise overextend themselves into contraindicated business endeavors, the cost is automatically foisted on consumers… We don’t even need to go into the political corruption and regulatory incompetence that is behind the economic rape of consumer by the utilities in this state.
So the tribes have a monopoly on casino gaming in Connecticut, per the “slots arrangement” that holds the non-reservation municipalities in need of revenue sources hostage, as gaming deserts, because of an agreement with the tribes that wasn’t necessarily made with the best interest of most of the residents of the state. Now we are prepared to grant a sports-betting monopoly to the tribes — or, perhaps, an oligopoly, that would then include the Tribes, Sportech, and a handful of other entities that have been involved in OTB ventures under state auspices…
But truly, sports betting revenue should be available to all Connecticut entrepreneurs just as the lottery has existed from kits conception, allowing licensed outlets at all retail levels to participate as vendors and have access to a business-supporting revenue stream… Sports-betting money shouldn’t all be allowed to be funneled to the GA for their too-often incompetent, contraindicated allocations, even as it only derives from closed-system corporate vending control that funnels their share of the revenue to out-of-state and foreign beneficiaries (and otherwise mostly Tribal interests) — as is the case with the aforementioned public utilities in the overall context of their state-allowed piracy and rape of consumers….
Gambling money will come mainly from the people of Connecticut and should serve to create business and job opportunities for them at the neighborhood level, as has always been the case with the Lottery. The state should manage sports betting access through a state Lottery-like system, and avail access to bettors through all levels of approved applicant outlets as it does with the Lottery… If we’re going to allow another level of gambling/vice in Connecticut, it should at least funnel money back to neighborhood level — form whence most of the revenue will originate… And the state’s share of the revenue should be similarly funneled back to the municipalities in the proportion with which it is derived from them, such heavily-gambling municipalities will get the bigger share of the state’s take on the revenue… This is how the lottery should work. The money should not go into a general fund or be ear-marked for anything (it is always diverted for ill-managed state uses/patronage/boondoggles, anyway, in the latter case). Sports-betting and Lottery derived jobs and money should be distributed mainly at the neighborhood level..
The people of Connecticut should say NO! to any sports-betting monopoly or oligopoly. Sports betting must be used to socioeconomically enhance the neighborhoods from whence it will be derived (and the policy for the distribution of the state’s share of Lottery $ should be similarly re-legislated…).