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Connecticut is starting to look like the No. 1 candidate to legalize online gambling in 2018.
Why? The state’s other gaming tribe has said it also supports online casinos.
During a March 15 hearing in front of the Public Safety and Security Committee, Connecticut’s two gaming tribes, Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan, came out in support of legalizing online gambling and sports betting in Connecticut.
In written testimony submitted to the Committee, Avi Alroy, the vice president of interactive gaming for Mohegan Sun said the following:
“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.”
Alroy’s statement on behalf of Mohegan Sun echoes the written testimony of Seth Young, Foxwoods Resort Casino’s executive director of online gaming, which was reported by Online Poker Report last week.
“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.”
Mohegan Sun already offers a New Jersey online casino.
Alroy also made the case for the legislature to act quickly in order to leverage any first-mover advantage:
“We also have an opportunity here to act fast and be one of the first states to allow sport wagering outside of Nevada. We certainly do not want to be one of the last states to do so. Massachusetts is discussing a sports wagering bill publically and New York State already introduced a bill this Tuesday. Pennsylvania also included online gaming and sports wagering in their latest casino expansion bill a few months ago.”
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Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun submitted revenue estimates for CT online casino gaming to the committee.
Assuming a pragmatic tax rate and legalization of online casino games and poker, both tribes estimate online gambling would generate around $87 million in tax revenue to the state over its first five years. That would be more than double the sports wagering tax revenue estimates submitted by Mohegan Sun.
Foxwoods’ estimates were based on $14.25 million in Year 1 and escalating to $20 million in Year 5.
Mohegan Sun also broke down its tax estimate year-by-year, with similar results:
With both tribes publicly on board, and Mohegan Sun making the case for fast action, Connecticut is now a leading candidate to legalize online gambling. Perhaps CT online poker could become a reality at the same time.
Will it reach the finish line, though? We’ll have to wait and see.