This weekend, gamblers in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Delaware and West Virginia legally placed bets on NFL games. Rhode Island and Pennsylvania are not far behind.
The Connecticut Legislature will consider legalizing sports betting next session, and it will be up to the next governor to decide whether or not to sign it.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont says legalizing sports betting will be at the top of his to-do list.
“Yet again Connecticut is slow off the starting line. We look at what other states are doing. They’re hitting that fast. Its representing significant revenue to the state. I put it forward as one way to pay for a property tax cut. I gotta show we’re gonna have a significant cut in property taxes and how I pay for it. So it’ll be a priority for me first thing next year.”
Republican Governor nominee Bob Stefanowski says the state needs to look at any revenue sources it can.
“We need to look at it further. It’s just starting to come out. Unfortunately Dan Malloy has left us with a situation that we cant rule too many things out and if it’s gonna happen in the country anyway then we need to look at how to control it and get some revenue out of it.”
In New Jersey, the casinos and racetracks are taking the bets. The State of Delaware is permitting it through casinos, racetracks and the state lottery. There are also mobile apps.
Stefanowski says Connecticut needs to capitalize on the opportunity.
“We certainly need to talk to the tribes about the current compact and the issue on that. We certainly need to make sure the state gets enough of the benefit that we don’t give all the benefits away.”
Petitioning candidate Oz Griebel also says he would start by the discussions around sports betting by re-negotiating the compact with the state’s two tribal casinos.
“Coming to some conclusion that is now alluding us to see if we can get to the point where we can have legalized sports betting here.”
Griebel says the sports betting conversation should be coupled with the talk of Bridgeport or an East Windsor casino, as well as with the lottery and off track betting licensees.
“There’s an issue here of people rattling the proverbial sabers, about whose got the control over all of this. I think that needs to be solved.”
So how much money could be out there in sports bets? The American Gaming Association estimates 150 billion dollars per year is illegally bet on sports.