Connecticut Governor Has Tax Revenue From Online Gambling In Budget Proposal


Last December, a Connecticut lawmaker said that “You can bet on” sports betting becoming a legal activity in 2021. On Wednesday, the state’s governor echoed those sentiments and made it seem like all forms of online gambling would be legal as well.
Gov. Ned Lamont released his two-year state budget Wednesday and he allotted $47.3 million in tax revenue from the second year of expanded gambling, according to a report from the Hartford Courant.
Based on comments made by Lamont at the time of the release of his budget proposal, it appears expanded gambling includes both retail and online sports betting, as well as online casino gaming.
“Our neighboring states are moving forward with sports betting and iGaming, and Connecticut should not leave these opportunities for other states to benefit from our inaction,” said Lamont. “My administration has been in active negotiations with our tribal partners to bring the state’s gaming economy into the digital age. And I am submitting legislation which reflects what I believe to be the best bet in ending this stalemate of inaction in a way which is in the best interest of the entire state.”
Both Rhode Island and New Hampshire already offer online and brick-and-mortar sports betting, and New York seems set to expand its sports betting market after recent comments made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Pennsylvania has also seen increased revenues after legalizing all forms of online gambling.
The tribal partners Lamont was referring to is the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which runs Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Tribe, which is in charge of Mohegan Sun. Currently, nearly all forms of gambling, outside of the lottery and off-track betting, runs through those two tribes.
The pandemic has hurt the brick-and-mortar revenue of those two tribes’ casinos, which in turn has put a dent in the state coffers. Connecticut is facing a $1 billion deficit at the time of Lamont’s budget proposal.
Lamont made comments in December that seemed like he was ready for Connecticut to mirror the models in place in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
“If we found out anything in the course of this horrible COVID cycle, more and more of the world is going virtual,” said Lamont at the end of last year. “More and more of the world is going online. That’s tele-health and tele-learning, but it’s also iGaming and sports betting. And I don’t think you want Connecticut left behind.”
With any proposed gambling expansion, those two entities will be at the center of the negotiations. The Courant’s report says that the governor and the tribes have been in “long-running talks” about whether the tribes will have exclusive rights, like they currently do, for any form of gambling expansion.
Foxwoods announced a partnership with daily fantasy sports giant DraftKings at the end of 2020, which gives the Boston-based online sportsbook a track to the Connecticut market regardless of any pending agreements.
 

 

 

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Posted on 2:20 am

Arizona Sports Betting Bill Has House Support, But Can’t Get Out Of Senate Committee


Arizona’s bill that would legalize online and retail sports betting hit a snag as a Senate committee failed to pass the proposed legislation Wednesday.
The Senate Committee on Commerce failed to advance the bill just a day after its identical companion bill passed a House committee by a 9-1 margin, according to a report from The Action Network.
The bill would allow for betting on professional and collegiate athletic events at the state’s tribal casinos and another 10 venues such as horse tracks and home arenas to professional sports franchises. Sportsbooks would be eligible to be built at Talking Stick Resort Arena, Gila River Arena, Chase Field and State Farm Stadium, which are home to the four major sports franchises based in Arizona. It would also legalize daily fantasy sports.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has been an outspoken supporter of legal sports betting and sign the bill if it got to his desk. Ducey’s lawyer, Anni Foster was at the House hearing of the bill. Foster said that passing it is necessary to legalize gambling taking place off the tribal reservations, which is likely going to be allowed as part of a new gaming compact that is still being negotiated, but agreed on in principle, according to reports.
A lobbyist representing major online sportsbooks said at the same hearing that she estimates the state would reap $42 million in annual tax revenue if the bill is passed.
With overwhelming support of the bill in the lower chamber, it seems likely that Arizona is a prime candidate to become one of the first states to legalize sports betting in 2021 if the Senate can come to an agreement on the legislation.
 

 

 

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Posted on 3:18 am

Texas Lt. Gov. Says Gambling “Won’t See The Light Of Day”


Efforts to legalize casino gambling in Texas has rapidly picked up support, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the projected $946 million budget deficit the state government is facing.
But the state’s Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick doesn’t think there will be any progress on the issue, at least during this legislative session.
According to a local NBC affiliate, Patrick appeared on a Lubbock-based radio show and said that despite a majority of the state supporting expanded gambling, he doesn’t think it will go anywhere.
“It’s not even an issue that’s going to see the light of day this session,” said Patrick on the Chad Hasty Show on KFYO. “There may be a bill filed, but I doubt it.”
Patrick clearly isn’t aware of the handful of bills that have already been proposed by lawmakers.
Rep. Joe Deshotel filed a bill that would allow casino gambling in “certain coastal areas” and Sen. Roland Gutierrez proposed one that would allow a limited number of casinos in the state. Gutierrez also filed a constitutional amendment that would authorize 12 casinos in the Lone Star State.
Last month, Harold Dutton filed HB 1121, which would bring online sports betting to Texas. His bill mimics the infrastructure set up in Tennessee, which is currently the only online-only sports betting market in the country.
The legislation comes on the heels of a University of Houston survey that showed the majority of Texans support expanding gambling. The survey reported that 70% of the respondents were in favor of legalizing casino gambling.
Aside from the report, Las Vegas Sands Corp. has been pushing for casino gambling as well. Last November, former CEO and Chairman Sheldon Adelson hired a team of lobbyists to sway the legislative momentum in his direction. Adelson passed away in January, but it appears his company is still moving forward with the plans.
Gambling could also be a boon for struggling state coffers, but Patrick also said that the projected estimates wouldn’t even put a dent in the shortfall.
“Every year I tell them the same thing,” said Patrick. “Don’t talk about revenues, because the sports gaming, for example, that teams are trying to push this session… that generates, by their numbers $150 million a year. That’s a lot of money, but it pays for about a half of a day of our year.”
 

 

 

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Posted on 2:28 am

Alabama Casino Bill Passes Senate Committee


The first piece of actual legislation that would bring expanded gambling to Alabama unanimously passed through a Senate committee vote, according to a report from Bhamnow, a local media outlet.
SB 214, sponsored by Sen. Del Marsh, would create a ballot initiative to allow voters to amend the state constitution and allow the creation of a state lottery, legalize sports betting and bring five casinos to the state.
The bill unanimously passed through the Senate Tourism Committee by an 11-0 margin. It will head to the Senate for a floor vote. If it passes the Senate, it will head to the House. Since the bill would amend the state constitution, it needs a 60% approval in both chambers of the legislature in order to get on the ballot.
If it achieves the nearly two-thirds necessary to pass, the question will be on the ballot for voters in November 2022.
Over the last several years, there have been a handful of attempts at bringing more gambling to Alabama, including a sports betting bill that was filed in 2019, but died in the legislature. But efforts ramped up in 2020 once the Poarch Band of Creek Indians began pushing for a gaming compact with the state.
In February 2020, Gov. Kay Ivey said that she wouldn’t enter into a compact with the tribe until a study on the effects of gambling was completed. That study was completed at the end of last year which concluded that its legalization would bring $700 million in tax revenue and another 19,000 jobs to the state economy.
A week ago, Ivey said that expanded gambling would require voter approval. Marsh’s bill would satisfy Ivey’s requirement.
The bill outlines the locations of all five casinos, four of which are already existing race tracks. Birmingham Race Course, VictoryLand in Macon County, GreenTrack in Greene County, Mobile Greyhound Park and a fifth location to be named later in either DeKalb or Jackson County.
 

 

 

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Posted on 1:18 am

Bill That Would Bring A Casino To Hawaii Killed In A Committee


The proposal to build a casino in Hawaii a hit a huge snag as it failed to get out of a committee.
According to a report from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, HB 359 was deferred by Rep. Sean Quinlan, the chairman of the House Economic Development Committee. The bill passed the Hawaiian Homes Commission at the end of 2020 and planned to build a casino resort in Kapolei, a city west of Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
The idea behind the proposal was that a casino in Kapolei would generate $30 million in annual tax revenue, which would be used to build homes for nearly 29,000 native Hawaiians.
Historically, the Hawaiian legislature has been staunchly opposed to bringing gambling to the chain of islands. There was testimony from both law enforcement and from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in opposition to the creation of a Las Vegas-style casino in Oahu.
A few days before Quinlan basically killed the bill, a report compiled by a state agency stated that bringing a casino to Hawaii would increase the likelihood of sex trafficking. The report was titled ‘Gambling With Women’s Safety: A Feminist Assessment of Proposed Resort-Casino.’
The state House of Representatives requested a study on the effects of gambling before they moved forward with a vote. The nine-page report also said that a casino would increase domestic violence and said that men who gamble are more likely to pay for sex. It said that Native Hawaiian women were particularly at risk of being a victim of a trafficking ring.
A companion bill, SB 1321, is still circulating through the Senate, but it’s chances of passing after the most recent developments seem bleak.
 

 

 

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Posted on 4:49 am