A coalition of state legislators, once on opposite sides on gaming development, will propose a new gaming bill that calls for a $100 million casino in Bridgeport and extends tribal nation control of casinos in Connecticut. It also allows the tribes that operate Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun control of sports betting in the state, something that does not sit well with one of the state’s other gaming partners Sportech that manages off-track betting.
The proposal is receiving pushback from Governor Ned Lamont. See his statement below:
From Emilie Munson, CT Post:
The bill would also authorize internet gaming run by the tribes and internet lottery sales run by the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, as well as sports betting in person and online. It would send millions more in revenue to the state and give new municipal grants of $750,000 to Fairfield, Hartford, New Haven, Norwalk, Stratford, Trumbull and Waterbury.
“This is historic and has been a long-anticipated plan that now will be realized because of our joint efforts to place Connecticut back on the map,” said Sen. Dennis Bradley, D-Bridgeport.
… Eleven Democrats and Republicans–all either from Bridgeport or the areas near the tribes’ casinos–indicated their support for the legislation Wednesday.
Previously, this group was “at odds,” said Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, with one side defending the tribes’ existing casinos and the other pushing for a commercial casino in Bridgeport. The acrimony was on display at a public hearing in February when Bridgeport lawmakers and Osten loudly accused each other of trying to steal jobs.
“It was five years of being on opposite sides,” said Rosario. “There was a little bit of bad blood and things that were between us legislators that ruffled a lot of feathers.”
Full story here.
Governor Ned Lamont’s Director of Communications Max Reiss released the following statement concerning an announcement today from a group of state legislators on their proposals regarding casinos:
“Only last week did the administration receive this draft legislation. A matter of such significance requires substantial involvement from multiple stakeholders, in particular the executive branch. Something this complex should not be negotiated without all necessary parties and certainly not behind closed doors. While we are appreciative of Senator Osten’s efforts and that of the various delegations, the administration’s position remains the same: a global resolution that mitigates the likelihood of years of litigation and positions the state to capitalize on a comprehensive gaming platform. Further, this proposed bill falls short of what the governor wants for Bridgeport–a bill that only authorizes versus requires a meaningful project in Bridgeport is not good enough.
“The administration looks forward to its participation in ongoing negotiations with the tribes.”
Statement from Richard McGuire, CEO of Sportech, regarding a proposed Bill To allow Casino Expansion and a Tribal Monopoly on Sports Betting in Connecticut
This seems a very unusual move, as we enter summer, and pushes the boundaries even further than the late-session attempts to progress further casino legislation.
This proposed Bill raises the risk of further unnecessary legal challenges and places real jobs at risk across the State.
Sportech’s position, as the only licensed operator currently taking live bets, online and in venue, on approved sports in Connecticut, has never wavered, is reasonable, delivers a competitive Sports Betting product, and would benefit Connecticut.
Simply put, any Sports Betting licensing should be awarded equally to current State gambling operators. Any deviation from that creates legal challenge and does a massive disservice to the constituents of Connecticut.
A monopoly to deliver Sports, or even a duopoly provided by only the Tribes, would not be in the best interests of Connecticut or Connecticut consumers.
We respect Senator Osten, her dedication and her passion. However, we are focused on delivering a solution that benefits the State, provides a choice for all consumers and eliminates the illegal gambling market, but this proposal isn’t that.