Connecticut became the latest state poised to offer legal sports betting, should the federal climate change to allow it.
Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law this week with provisions that allow the state to move forward on sports betting regulation.
What happened in Connecticut on sports betting
The bill was part of a larger gaming package that included authorization of a new casino in the state. The bill with sports betting in it also increases the number off off-track betting sites for horse racing.
Here is the part about sports betting:
The Commissioner of Consumer Protection shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, to regulate wagering on sporting events to the extent permitted by state and federal law.
The sports betting provision was thrown into the mix late in the game in the statehouse. And it was added before the revelation that NJ might have a real chance to win in the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year, Mississippi enacted a law that repeals its prohibition on sports betting, should federal law change to allow it.
What’s next for Connecticut sports betting
In order to actually offer sports betting, here are the steps that would have to occur:
- SCOTUS would have to strike down the federal law banning sports betting outside of Nevada — PASPA — in the NJ case. Short of that, Congress would have to repeal or amend PASPA.
- The state would appear to need to repeal its existing prohibition on sports betting, as well.
- The Department of Consumer Protection would have to promulgate regulations as described in the law above.
On the last point, an inquiry by Legal Sports Report to the DCP indicated that the office is aware of its duties on sports betting
“DCP is tasked with adopting regulations to regulate wagering on sporting events to the extent permitted by state and federal law,” according to a spokesperson for the DCP. “The Department is also aware of the New Jersey case that the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up and will continue to monitor federal activity surrounding sports betting.”
A report from the Hartford Courant indicated that could include online sports betting, although it is likely too early to say if that is a legitimate possibility. The DCP had no comment on whether that possibility was in the cards.
States are wise to move forward on sports betting
Connecticut is getting the ball rolling on sports betting, joining New Jersey and Mississippi as states primed to move forward if NJ wins its case. (That, of course, is far from a given.)
States, however, would be smart to get ready for a new world where sports betting can be legalized at the state level, if a state wants to have legal wagering. First movers in the space will have an advantage, especially in regions like the Northeast where there are no shortage of regional casino options.
Regardless, Connecticut could be one of the first states to join New Jersey with legal sports betting, if things break right.