Connecticut Betting Expanded

Connecticut Betting ExpandedConnecticut’s lawmakers certainly have been busy in their last few days of session, passing two landmark bills that greatly expand gambling in the state. Late on Tuesday night, the state House of Representatives was burning the midnight oil when they approved a bill that green-lighted a satellite casino to be opened in East Windsor. The casino would be hosted by both the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan Tribes.

The casino bill has already been approved by the Senate, so it is now on its way to the desk of the Governor, Dannel P. Malloy. This bill also opened up talks for a “sweetener” law, one that would expand off-track betting in Connecticut. Currently, there are 18 licensed OTB venues throughout the state. This bill, which passed the House by a narrow vote of 77-72, would extend this number to 24. The bill is currently awaiting Senate approval now. This is the last day of the legislative session in Connecticut, so it’s really down to the wire with this one.

Something interesting to note about this bill is its stipulations regarding sports betting. Language contained in the legislation involves a directive given to the Department of Consumer Protection. It states that the Department should begin creating guidelines for sports betting in the state.

Now, before you get too excited, Connecticut is not challenging PASPA. The provisional language asks the Department of Consumer Protection to create this framework with the stipulation that it would only go into effect should the federal ban on sports betting be amended or repealed altogether. Not much is known on what the Department will include in their guidelines, but it can be assumed that a plan for licensing, taxes, and consumer protection measures will be included.

Interestingly enough, while the legislation is pushing through so much gambling expansion at the last minute, they have allowed a bill that would regulate Daily Fantasy Sports in the state fall by the wayside. The bill originated in the state House but has been stuck in the Joint Committee on General Law since its introduction by sponsor Representative Jeffrey J. Berger.

The hesitancy to move forward with DFS could stem from any number of things, but with such a push for gambling expansion in the state this year, it leaves us wondering why DFS has been left out in the cold. Perhaps it is because of the GAME act that is being proposed by Congress right now? Paid-entry DFS is defined as sports gambling under the GAME act, which could be a big reason behind Connecticut lawmakers dragging their feet.

Connecticut’s DFS bill in its current state would lay out regulatory guidelines for licensing, taxation, and registration for a non-sports betting activity in sports betting states. But why bother passing a state law that defines Daily Fantasy as other than sports betting when a federal law could override said guidelines and layout completely new ones sometime in the near future? Whatever the reasoning, DFS won’t be a part of the gaming expansion in Connecticut. Not this year, at least.