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Connecticut to consider new sports wagering bills


Lawmakers in Connecticut are to run the rule over several new bills that would legalise sports betting in the state, though the legislation is dependent on Governor Ned Lamont reaching agreements with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

Sponsored by Representative Joseph Gresko, House Bill 5168 would allow both tribes – currently the only entities licensed to offer gambling in the state – and other operators to apply for a new license to offer sports wagering in Connecticut.

Operators would be able to offer both online and mobile sports betting without having a physical presence in the state. However, in terms of land-based betting, this would be limited to facilities located on tribal lands.

In terms of license costs, a sports wagering operator license would cost an initial $100,000 in a non-refundable application fee, in addition to a further $750,000 should the license be issued or if it is renewed. Licenses would run for a period of five-years.

Connecticut would also make available sports wagering vendor licenses so that operators could work with a third-party to offer betting in the state. Applicants would again pay the initial $100,000, as well as $300,000 when the license is issued and every five years to renew the permit.

The bill states that Connecticut’s Commissioner of Consumer Protection would be responsible for processing license applications should the bill pass into law.

Sports wagering gross revenue would be taxed at a rate of 10% on land-based activity, and 14.75% on revenue from betting on online or mobile platforms.

HB 5168 also sets out a number of additional requirements for licensees, such as having to enter a partnership with a recognised sports data provider and reporting suspicious betting activity to the state’s Department of Consumer Protection.

Betting would be limited to players at 21 years of age, while consumers would only be able to place wagers while located inside the state. In addition, the bill sets out that players should be allowed to exclude themselves from betting or set deposit limits.

However, the bill remains subject to Governor Lamont reaching an agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to amend their existing arrangement that currently grants them exclusivity to sports betting in the state. Any changes would need to adhere to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Should the Governor reach a new tribal state compact, the bill would be able to pass into law, with the aim of putting into place the measures by July 1, 2020. HB 5168 is now with the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Security for further discussion.

The introduction of the House Bill comes as two other sports betting bills were also put forward in Connecticut’s Senate. Senate Bill 00021 and 00212 both set out plans to legalise sports betting, online gaming, internet lottery, online keno, entertainment facilities and a new gambling location in Bridgeport.

Both bills primarily relate to tribal gambling and would also require amending existing agreements with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes in order to progress.

Should an agreement be reached, then the bills would permit each federally recognized tribe that runs Class III gaming on its Indian lands in the state to operate one online skin for sports wagering online or via a mobile application, as well as one skin for online casino.

The bills also seek to permit a tribally owned company to operate a new casino gaming facility in the city of Bridgeport, provided that the business in question commits to spending at least $100m on the project.

Should either of the bills progress into law, it is intended that they would come into effect from July 1, 2020. Both House Bills are now with the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Security.