A state without a professional sports team could be the first to give leagues their ask of an integrity fee, but it wants something in return.
Following on an 11-hour committee hearing last week on multiple gambling expansion bills, a new Connecticut sports betting bill will be heard Tuesday morning in the House Public Safety and Security Committee.
But this is the sports betting legislation in the state with the best chance, as it comes from Rep. Joe Verrengia, the committee’s chairman. He expects the bill to move quickly, possibly within a week.
A unique take on the integrity fee
In lieu of giving a straight integrity fee to professional sports leagues, Verrengia’s proposal would use a portion of sports betting revenue to the state toward creating a partnership between the Connecticut Department of Economic Development and the leagues.
“I think there’s a distinct difference here in looking to partner with professional sports teams, and in return they would get up to a certain amount of revenue with the understanding that they would create more of a presence here in the state,” Verrengia said. “I believe we would be one of the first states to engage in a partnership of this kind and magnitude.”
What could be included?
Verrengia mentioned that the partnership could include bringing pro exhibition games to the state, as well as supporting youth sports. He indicated that the specifics would have to be negotiated with the leagues.
The idea is consistent with what Verrengia mentioned to Legal Sports Report last month. He said had the Connecticut legislature authorized legal sports betting last year, it would have included an integrity fee.
He then questioned NBA senior vice president Dan Spillane about his interest in participating in such a partnership at last week’s hearing. Spillane expressed a willingness to explore the idea.
More details from new CT sports betting bill
Here are other key elements Verrengia said will be included in his CT sports betting bill:
- Authorization for tribal casinos to offer sports betting as well as commercial casinos, off-track betting parlors and the Connecticut Lottery
- A statewide mobile and online gaming platform with in-person registration
- Betting on professional and collegiate sporting events