Connecticut Considering Legal Online Poker And Casino Games

March 27, 2018
Connecticut Considering Legal Online Poker And Casino Games

Gamblers in Connecticut may soon be able to jump on the internet and play legal and regulated online poker and casino games. They may even be able to bet on sports.

Particularly if the Native American Tribes behind the state’s two brick and mortar casino resorts have any say.

At a March 15 Connecticut Public Safety and Security Committee hearing, Connecticut’s two gaming tribes, the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, both came out in favor of legalizing online gambling and sports betting inside the state.

In fact, written testimony submitted by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation run Foxwoods Resort Casino and executive director of online gaming Seth Young went even further. Not only did it support online gambling and sports betting, it said online gambling represented a major opportunity for the state:

“As we see it, the strongest opportunity for the state is in legalizing statewide iGaming, another activity that is currently operating for Connecticut residents in the black market today.”

The Mohegan Tribe, owner and operator of the Mohegan Sun casino and resort, echoed those same sentiments in written testimony submitted to the committee by Avi Alroy, Mohegan Sun’s VP of interactive gaming:

“To clarify, I believe that the state of Connecticut will benefit from both online casino gaming and sport wagering as it will reduce unregulated bets that are done locally and off-shore, and increase state revenues.”

Mohegan Sun already owns and operates a legal and regulated online casino in the New Jersey market. It runs under the Resorts Casino Hotel internet gambling license. The Atlantic City casino is managed by the Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.

Connecticut online gambling revenue projections

Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun also submitted online gambling revenue projections for the state.

Both believe Connecticut will generate as much as $87 million in tax revenue over the first five years with legal and regulated online gambling.

The estimates are based on generating $14.25 million in tax revenue in the first year. Then, growing that to as much as $20 million by year five.

New Jersey online gambling sites generated a record $245.6 million in gross gaming revenue in 2017. That represented a close to 25 percent increase from the previous record of $196.7 million set one year earlier.

New Jersey has had legal and regulated online gambling since November 2013. Gross online gambling revenue reached $122.9 in 2014, the industry’s first full year of existence. It has gone up more than 20 percent every year since.

New Jersey online gambling generated more than $40 million in tax revenue in 2017. The state has pulled in more than $130 million in tax revenue from online gambling since it launched.

New Jersey’s population is almost three times the size of Connecticut’s.

No online gambling bill yet

Connecticut’s Public Safety and Security Committee hearing amounts to little more than a discussion about online gambling and its possibilities. No bill seeking to legalize online gambling has been put forward in the legislature so far this year.

In addition to discussing online gambling, Connecticut lawmakers are currently thinking about legalizing sports betting. But only if the Supreme Court of the United States overturns the current federal ban on sports betting.

Additionally, lawmakers are considering a bill that would legalize online lottery sales.

The Foxwoods Resort Casino hotel and casino complex sits on the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation, within Ledyard, Connecticut. The casino on the property hosts 5,500 slot machines and over 300 table games. Plus it is home to the largest poker room on the East Coast.

The Mohegan Sun 34-story casino, hotel and entertainment complex is in Uncasville, Connecticut. Its three casinos feature nearly 5,000 slot machines, 300 table games, and a 42-table state-of-the-art poker room.

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