Democrats Pursue Sports Gambling Regulations

It is possible that later this summer that sports betting could be legalized in Connecticut.

The United States Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in a New Jersey case, Christie v. NCAA, where the state is arguing that the federal government can’t control state lawmaking, and the particular issue is sports gambling.

Only four states allow for sports betting: Delaware, Oregon, Montana, and Nevada, and the case could open the floodgates, paving the way for states to regulate sports gambling.

In Connecticut, lawmakers say they want the state to have a structure in place to immediately reap the benefits, if and when the high court rules.

“We want to be ahead of something for a change,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Matt Ritter.

State lawmakers left open all possibilities for how the gambling would be regulated, saying they would predict the state’s Native American tribes would be involved as well, because of their compact with the state for slot machine revenue.

Republicans would not rule out supporting regulations for gambling, saying the state should be prepared, so long as the effort is not solely to capture revenue.

"We should not be balancing the budget on that, similar to marijuana. it shouldn't be a component to budget,” said Rep. Vin Candelora. He added, “I think this issue should certainly be looked at.”

Bobby V’s in Windsor Locks is an authorized location for Off Track Betting in Connecticut. The CEO of Sportech Ventures, the company that runs Bobby V’s locations in Stamford and Windsor Locks, says he would expect strict regulation for in-person and digital gambling, like allowing for placing bets on an app.

Sportech’s Ted Taylor said, "We go through a complicated process involving a public hearing in every single location in which we are so we'd expect that to be absolutely a pre-requisite if it was allowed in bricks and mortar locations and then you extrapolate from that, if it's going to be allowed in bricks and mortar locations if there is going to be an online operation and that's the area where the most protection is required."

He added he favors the expansion into sports gambling and thinks the state can benefit.

"For me it's all about making sure that if the state does it, it's done legally and in a way that the state can get its share and people can be employed, and tax can be generated in Connecticut."

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