(WTNH) — Governor Lamont signs legislation Thursday afternoon to expand sports wagering, online gaming in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Lottery Corporation applauded Gov. Lamont and the Connecticut General Assembly on the state’s approval.

 “We are very pleased that the state legislature has approved this modernization of Connecticut’s gaming landscape.  I congratulate and thank Governor Lamont and his team for their leadership and vision to reach this historic agreement and see it pass the Connecticut General Assembly. I also thank the leadership in both the Connecticut House and Senate for this milestone achievement.”

A decade in the making — lawmakers at the State Capitol are expected to finally vote on a bill to expand gambling in Connecticut. The historic agreement between the state, the two tribal nations, and the Lottery was hammered out in March.

The ten-year deal to expand gaming includes; an estimated $141 million in new revenue over the first five years. Your phone will turn into a slot machine and sports betting book in the blink of an eye.

State Rep. Maria Horn the Democratic Chair of the legislature’s Public Safety Committee helped keep lines of communication open. “This complicated deal was crafted on the shoulders of many many years of conversation.”

I-gaming, sports betting, and fantasy sports will flow through the two tribal casinos PER an amended Compact. Keno, I lottery, and sports betting from the Connecticut Lottery. which will have to hire 20 people.

State Rep. Maria Horn, “Doesn’t designate where the funds will be spent at all.”

Where the money goes is being negotiated in the state budget talks. Connecticut lottery will have the rights to operate 15 retail sports betting locations; including one in Hartford and one in Bridgeport.

Both tribal casinos have agreed to the tax rate. An 18% tax rate for i-gaming in the first five years followed by a 20 percent tax rate for the following five years; 13.75 percent tax rate on sports wagering the deal halts a casino in East Windsor.

Sports betting outlets can’t be within 25-miles of the casinos. For fans looking to bet on in-state teams, there’s a hitch.

“There will be no permitted gambling on in State College University games with one exception and that is if you are betting on the entire NCAA tournament and UConn is in that tournament you would be able to place a bracket bet on the entire tournament,” explained Horn.

Exclusive off-track betting operator Sportech is not named in the bill. They can partner with the Lottery. They’re vowing to sue for “un-equal protection.”

Meantime, the bill is expected to sail through the legislature and will be signed by the Governor.
Republican House Minority Leader Vin Candelora says “It probably did take the pandemic to open the flood gates for it to happen people don’t realize the economic impact casinos have on our state.”

Then, the Department of the Interior has to sign off.

State Rep. Maria Horn, “There are a lot of unknowns there that’s why this has some sense of urgency because we need to get that process moving as quickly as possible.”

Placing bets by football season – leaders tell News 8 will be a challenge. In addition to federal approvals – the department of consumer protection has to write the regulations and hire 24-new employees to handle expansion.

Statement from Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, on HB 6451 AAC gaming agreements with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut:

We are pleased that the House of Representatives is scheduled tonight to take up legislation that will codify the agreement reached among the three sovereign governments. For our Tribe, gaming is about much more than business; it is a means by which we rebuild our nation, educate our children, and take care of our elders. Passage of this legislation will enable us to do just that, and more, for generations to come.

We thank Governor Lamont, the leadership of the General Assembly, members of the Southeastern Connecticut legislative delegation and the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, as well as the many members of the legislature who have supported us in this in this journey, especially those in the Public Safety and Finance Committees. We are grateful for their friendship.

We look forward to tonight’s vote, and to working with our friends in the State Senate to complete the journey. Kutaputush (thank you.)

A trade association the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association says the proposed Connecticut legislation puts fantasy sports in danger. They released this statement late today:

Legislation currently under consideration by the Connecticut General Assembly could result in the shutdown of paid fantasy sports in Connecticut for a significant period of time, possibly through the NFL season. On behalf of all fantasy sports players in the state, the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association (FSGA) strongly urges the General Assembly to make the necessary changes to the legislation to ensure Connecticut residents can continue to participate in the fantasy sports contests they know and love.

Late Thursday, the CT House approved legalized sports betting and online wagering in a 122 – 21 vote. The proposal now heads to the State Senate.

James Gessner Jr., Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council said:

The Mohegan Tribe is thankful to Governor Ned Lamont and our partners in the Connecticut House of Representatives for passing legislation on a bipartisan basis that will bring online gaming and sport wagering to Connecticut. We’d especially like to thank all of Connecticut’s great Southeastern delegation to the House, along with Speaker Matt Ritter and also Representative Maria Horn, Chair of the Public Safety and Security Committee, for their hard work making this legislation possible. 

By modernizing our gaming industry in these ways, Connecticut will keep pace with neighboring states, protecting Connecticut jobs and generating tax revenues to the benefit of both state and local municipal budgets, as well as our tribe’s members. This is not just a regional issue — it will have a statewide impact as Connecticut works to meet critical needs as it recovers from the pandemic. We urge the State Senate to take up the bill as soon as possible, and we look forward to continued work with the General Assembly, and with Governor Ned Lamont, to continue moving Connecticut’s economy forward.