As Connecticut looks to advance sports betting legislation in case the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of it, state officials held a public hearing on proposed gambling bills. In a written testimony, a representative of the influential Foxwoods Resort Casino clearly expressed his support for online gambling and sports betting.
The testimony was submitted at a Public Safety and Security Committee Hearing by Seth Young, Executive Director of Online Gaming at Foxwoods Resort Casino which is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. The hearing, which took place March 15, gathered lawmakers, representatives from Connecticut’s tribal casinos and members of the public. The agenda included seven bills on everything from commercial casino gaming to sports wagering and online gambling.
It became clear that the tribal casino is fully supportive of legalizing both online gambling and sports betting in the state. Moreover, according to the tribe, Internet gambling is the strongest opportunity for Connecticut. Foxwoods’ positive attitude towards these issues was a pleasant surprise for most industry analysts who note that tribes traditionally oppose online gaming as they see it as a threat to their operations. Young added that Internet gambling is already available to Connecticut residents, even though it is illegal.
Two more written testimonials were submitted during the public hearing and one of them was delivered by Steve Wagner, Director of Information Technology the Connecticut State Lottery. The Lottery, according to the statement, supports sports betting and Wagner has tried to focus on the implementation of the legislation dealing with this industry.
Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen noted in his testimony that the state legislators should proceed with caution when reviewing the proposed bills, especially when it comes to sports betting, which according to him may violate the revenue agreements with tribal casinos. Currently, there are two Indian casinos in the state – Mashantucket Pequot’s Foxwoods Resort Casino in the town of Ledyard and the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.
How Would Online Gambling Impact Connecticut
Online gambling supporters claim that the new industry would generate millions of dollars in revenue, a large part of which would be paid as state taxes. Young explained that, according to estimates, Connecticut would be able to collect around $87 million in tax revenue over the first five years after online gambling is legalized.
In addition, iGaming is expected to create hundreds of jobs despite the myth that computers will replace people in the job market. On the contrary, Young says, giving New Jersey as an example – hundreds of jobs were created both directly and in supporting markets in the state where online gambling is regulated.
Another important factor Foxwoods Resort Casino focuses on is the belief that online operations will benefit Connecticut land-based casinos. Young and many other representatives of the industry share the opinion that the addition of online gambling would only increase land-based visits. The higher casino revenues will, in turn, contribute to higher tax revenues for the state.