It’s time to bring sports betting to Connecticut

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Gamblers line up to place bets on the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City N.J., Thursday, March 21, 2019. This is the first March Madness tournament since legal gambling expanded last year in the U.S. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Gamblers line up to place bets on the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City N.J., Thursday, March 21, 2019. This is the first March Madness tournament since legal gambling expanded last year in the U.S. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Take a deep breath and smile, the best time of the year is here. We just had four straight days of noon tip-offs and college basketball taking us through midnight. On top of that, according to Forbes, 48 million Americans bet nearly $8.5 billion dollars on the NCAA Tournament. The catch is that any of those 48 million Americans who reside in Connecticut were doing so illegally, and the state is missing out on a fortune.

There have been legalization efforts in the past that haven’t seen the light, but legislators continue to try. Two bills went before the General Assembly in late February that reintroduced sports betting in Connecticut.

One bill, according to the CT Post, doesn’t exactly lay out a plan for the state to move forward with, it just merely calls for a change in the state’s laws to allow for sports wagering. The other bill gives two recognized Indian Tribes and their southeastern Connecticut casinos the rights to sports gaming and also expands Keno to the internet through an agreement between the casinos and the state lottery.

For a state in the economic condition that Connecticut is in, sports betting seems like a logical way to make money. The idea wasn’t included in Governor Ned Lamont’s two-year budget plan, but it was certainly brought up.

“Beyond the two-year budget, we must enact new sources of revenues, such as sports betting and internet wagering,” Lamont said in his speech.

How serious is Lamont? When asked to specify, Lamont’s spokesperson David Bednarz had this to say: “Governor Lamont is open to any dialogue with legislators, stakeholders, businesses and residents to determine what will work best for Connecticut and put the state on a sustainable path forward.”

And that’s a good start, he should be open to dialogue. In this sports writer’s humble (often wrong) opinion, sports betting is similar to the marijuana debate. If everyone is doing it anyways, why can’t the state regulate it and make money off of it? It makes the industry safer, orderly, and again, the state can PROFIT off of it. Seems like a win-win to me.

Sen. Steve Cassano (D-Andover, Bolton, Glastonbury, Manchester) seems to be on the same boat.

“Gambling is here,” Cassano said. “We’re not keeping something away. We’re not licensing something that already exists. We’re getting in on the action is what it comes down to.”

Getting in on the action. If it’s something I can do from my living room while I nervously sweat out over while adding up the total points on my phone’s calculator (hypothetically of course), the state government should be able to get in on the action as well.

Let’s all win together.


Connor Donahue is the digital editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at connor.f.donahue@uconn.edu. He tweets at @conn_donahue.

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