Connecticut Legislature Moving Closer To Legalizing Sports Betting
Connecticut legislative leaders said that lawmakers "need to be ready for legalized gambling if it happens -- as multiple states will be scrambling for cash that gambling provides," according to Christopher Keating of the HARTFORD COURANT. House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said, "With the Supreme Court ruling coming down within the next month, we want to be in a position to take advantage of it." Legislators have said that sports betting "could raise" $40-80M a year in Connecticut. The latest version of the state's sports betting bill says that the pro leagues would receive 0.25% of the "total amount bet." MLB Senior VP/League Economics & Operations Morgan Sword said, "We think Connecticut has a real chance to pass a state-of-the-art statute here that could act as a model for other states. We've been very impressed with the level of expertise that these guys have on this issue." Keating notes in "anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling, 19 state legislatures have introduced sports betting bills." Officials said that only West Virginia so far has "passed a law in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling." Sword said MLB is working with Connecticut because if they "choose to move forward, we think it's extremely important that they protect the players', the owners' and the sport leagues' interest" (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/25).
STILL UP FOR DEBATE: In West Virginia, Hoppy Kercheval writes Gov. Jim Justice and the state's casino operators are "at odds over whether the state should pay an 'integrity fee' to the sports leagues if the state gets into the sports betting business." The current West Virginia law "does not include an 'integrity fee.'" However, Justice is "open to the idea." Last month, he said that he would "'absolutely' call a special session to add the fee to the law" if the Supreme Court clears the way for sports betting. Casino operators "see sports betting as more of an additional amenity than a significant revenue source." They "believe the margins are already going to be tight before the 'integrity fee'" (WVMETRONEWS.com, 4/25).