Connecticut is on the verge of enacting a law to pave the way for online sports liberalization, off-track betting expansion and allow the construction of a third casino in the state, but the proposal faces a threat of censure due to the rise of the punters.
Connecticut liberalized its gaming industry as far back as 1972, but sports betting has always been a matter of discussion. Although the state restricts the sports betting, there are no laws, which can restrict the players from wagering on sports events online. Thus, to remain within the confines of the law, the Connecticut residents could only place their sports bets in online offshore casino sites.
The local authorities realized that by legalizing the sports betting in the state, they will be able to bridge many gaps in the state’s budget. After long consideration on this matter, the legislature decided to give a green light to the OTB, nix the restrictions over online sports betting and allow the expansion of the casino industry. Therefore, the state allowed the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods’ casino operators to open a third casino in East Windsor.
The gambling expansion, though, created a buzz among both lawmakers and residents. According to the proponents of the bill, it opens a good opportunity for the state to reap more revenues and back up the state’s budget by stopping the money leakage to the foreign casino operators. Furthermore, the enacting of the bill will decrease the unemployment rate by creating new jobs.
But the opponents of the bill outline a clog in the system, related to the addictive nature of gambling. Rachel A. Volberg, President of Gemini Research in Northhampton, Mass., who studies gambling boycotts the bill, explaining that the expansion will give the players more gambling prospects, which will increase the potential of swelling the rate of addicted gamblers.
This means that the gambling expansion bill may be stalled and even dismissed. Fearing possible disapproval, the two tribal nations agreed on contributing a fair share of their income to support studies and treatment for gambling problem, estimated to be $300,000 for each a year.
Marlene Warner, Executive Director at the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling explained that the lack of an adequate research on the problem is in the basis as there is no accurate information about the exact number of chronic gamblers.
She added that the state lacks the needed funds to invest in such research. Hence, according to the latest amendments, the casinos need to pay up to $5 million, besides the 5% of gross gaming revenues, which will be donated to health trust fund.
When it comes to OTB, there is only one licensed operator, who is authorized to offer such type of bets in the region. Many experts see the sports betting expansion as a logical step for the casino industry development.
Connecticut is on the brink of giving a green light to one of the mpst massive casino expansion bill in the recent years. It includes construction of a third casino in East Windsor, adding more OTB parlours and liberalizing online sports betting in the area. This will stabilize the state’s economy and create more job opportunities.
But every coin has two sides, including the gaming matter. Many people are concerned with the possible deepening of the addicted gamblers’ problem. It is yet to become clear how the legislators will tackle the problem and find the most optimal solution.