Connecticut Online Casinos and Sports Betting Legal
Earlier this week, we reported that HB 6451 in Connecticut was a Senate vote away from legalizing online gambling and sports betting. Since then, the Senate has voted the matter through and Governor Ned Lamont has signed the bill into law.
This makes Connecticut the latest state to legalize most forms of online gambling. They join New Jersey, Michigan, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania as states offering online gambling. Now all that remains is for the Department of the Interior to sign off on the new tribal compact. Meanwhile, Massachusetts is eliminating COVID restrictions. However, this does not mean good news for everyone as live poker may not return to the state until 2022.
Senate Votes in Favor of HB 6451
There was some concern over whether the Connecticut Senate would pass HB 6451 despite having bipartisan support in the House. Those concerns proved unfounded as the Senate voted in favor of the bill by a margin of 28-6.
This pushes the bill to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk, and seeing that he was the person instrumental in getting this process started, he naturally was going to sign the bill. He did so on Friday. The signing, makes sports betting, real money online casinos, and online poker legal in the state.
Earlier in 2021, Gov Lamont struck a new compact with both the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. Terms of the deal will allow the tribes and the CT Lottery to offers online gambling and sports betting. Also, the Lottery can offer in-person sports betting with up to 15 live betting facilities.
Gambling revenue will be taxed between 13.75% up to 20% of gross revenue. Also, the tribes will contribute $300,000 each toward combating problem gambling. The Lottery will contribute $3.3 million.
The final step in this process now lies with the US Department of the Interior. They will make a final determination on the compact and either approve or reject it. The Department of the Interior recently approved Arizona’s new tribal compact, so it’s hard to see them reject this one.
Live Poker May Not Return to Massachusetts Until 2022
For months now, gamblers in Massachusetts have patiently waited for COVID restrictions to be lifted. Regulators have finally done so but poker players may still have to wait. According to reports, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to remove COVID restrictions from state-run casinos and slots parlor.
This means that players will be able to go back to gambling as they would before the start of the pandemic. However, the same will not apply to poker players – at least for now. It appears that MGM Springfield is not ready to make a decision on live poker and may not do so before the end of the year.
According to Daniel Miller, MGM Springfield Compliance Director, “We’re continuing to monitor needs for poker and whether we will bring that back. We too have decided to make a decision by or around December 31.” This is different from other states like Nevada that already have live poker but have been adhering to COVID restrictions. The Nevada Gaming Control Board is removing restrictions from Nevada casinos starting on June 1st.
This is yet another sign that we have turned the corner from the pandemic. Casinos around the world are letting players come back and many are reducing or removing COVID restrictions. The 2021 World Series of Poker is tentatively expected to run in September with the WSOP Europe expected to run later this year.
Odds are that as other parts of the country remove restrictions from live poker, this will influence Massachusetts to do the same. At worst, players will have to wait about another six months.