A significant step in legalizing online casinos in Connecticut was taken recently with a public hearing on expanding online gaming/gambling opportunities in the state. With off-track betting and daily fantasy sports betting already permitted, legalizing online casinos and the industry as a whole is the next logical step.
Elected officials, lawmakers, members of the public and representatives of the tribal casinos met to discuss a wide range of gaming topics, which included sports betting, traditional casinos and legal online casinos in CT. By the end of proceedings, evidence strongly suggests that legal online gambling in Connecticut is a certainty.
In most states, it is the traditional brick and mortar casinos who oppose the introduction of their online counterparts.This is usually because they fear that they will lose their customers to the punters who can now game from the comfort of their own homes or via their smartphones. However, recent findings actually show that online casinos actually support the traditional casinos, and introduces gaming to a whole new market, many of whom will then try their luck at traditional casinos.
Foxwoods Resort Casino submitted a written testimony that supports both sports betting and online casinos, calling it the “strongest opportunity for the state”. In the testimony, Seth Young, Executive Director of Online Gambling at Foxwoods Resort Casino, said:
“As we see it, the strongest opportunity for the state is in legalizing state-wide iGaming, another activity that is currently operating for Connecticut residents in the black market today.”
Such strong support from a tribal casino is rare and worth its weight in gold as these casinos are quite influential. Foxwoods Resort Casino is one of a number of brick and mortar casinos owned and run by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation while the Mohegan Tribe own the Mohegan Sun in CT and a branded online casino in New Jersey.
In the written testimony submitted at the hearing, Seth Young had quite a bit to say about the benefits legal online gambling in CT would bring:
“Since iGaming was introduced in New Jersey in 2013, New Jersey has collected more than $126M in tax revenue. We project the revenue opportunity for iGaming in Connecticut to be greater than the revenue opportunity for sports gambling. Based on our estimates coupled with a pragmatic tax rate, over the course of five years, Connecticut stands to collect roughly $87M in tax revenue from iGaming, at a rate starting at roughly $14.25M in Year One, escalating to roughly $20M in Year Five.”
“A study by the Development and Economic Association estimates 3,374 full-time equivalent jobs were created in New Jersey directly or indirectly since the introduction of iGaming in 2013. The regulated New Jersey iGaming market has had no reports of replacing people with computer servers. In fact, dozens of jobs were created directly as required by regulation, along with hundreds of additional jobs to support the market.
“Further, as iGaming revenue has proven to be incremental to land-based operations, it is more likely that additional jobs will be created within a casino to manage both an online business and to address the needs of the brick-and-mortar establishment because of the online offering.”
Read the full testimony here.
The public hearing and support of the land-based tribal casinos are just the latest indications that Connecticut is serious about legalizing online gaming as a whole.
Watch this space for the latest news on the legal status of iGaming in Connecticut, New York and Michigan.