The Connecticut House of Representatives passed HB 6451, which included several iGaming provisions for the state, by a vote of 122 to 21. Eight representatives abstained from the vote. The next step for this bill as it moves through the legislative process is to proceed to the state Senate for a vote.
The bill is the latest step toward revamped gaming laws in the state since the governor announced that a gaming modernization agreement among the Connecticut Lottery, Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe had been reached.
Overall, the bill addresses several traditional gaming and modern gaming industries. Connecticut legislators and private enterprises involved in gaming throughout the state are largely in favor of the bill, which encompasses authorization, licensing and regulation of online casino gaming, retail and online sports wagering, fantasy contests, keno and online sale of lottery tickets.
Among the most notable components of the agreement to modernize gaming options for Connecticut residents are:
- A five-year tax rate of 18% levied on new online gaming offerings, with an increased tax rate of 20% for at least five years following the initial five-year period’s conclusion.
- A 13.75% tax rate on sports wagering.
- A provision providing the Connecticut Lottery the right to sublicense locations to state-licensed parimutuel operators.
- A provision enabling the Connecticut Lottery to establish new retail sports betting locations in Hartford and Bridgeport.
- A 10-year sports betting license agreement with an option to extend it for an additional five years.
- A provision allowing the Connecticut Lottery Corporation to sell draw lottery and keno tickets online.
- A halt to the development of an East Windsor casino by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes for the duration of the agreement.
Following the House vote passing HB 6451, Gov. Ned Lamont said, “I want to thank the Connecticut House of Representatives for the careful consideration and bipartisan passage of legislation that will bring Connecticut’s gaming, lottery and sports betting market into the future, positioning our state as a leader. I also want to express my appreciation to the co-chairs of the Public Safety Committee, including State Representative Maria Horn, for their partnership as they worked with members of my administration to draft and move this legislation through the process. I look forward to this measure’s swift passage in the Senate so we can start the federal process of ensuring this legislation and agreement is authorized.”
In his statement, Lamont made a point of explicitly thanking the Mohegan Tribe for its role in the agreement, saying, “We are incredibly fortunate to have such a devoted partner in these efforts like the Mohegan Tribe, as they have been open to negotiation, honest discussion and a positive path forward that is beneficial for both their tribe and the state of Connecticut.”
Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman James Gessner Jr. released a statement of his own following the House’s passing of the bill, noting that the bill would offer particularly potent assistance amid COVID-19.
In the statement, Gessner said, “The Mohegan Tribe is thankful to Governor Ned Lamont and our partners in the Connecticut House of Representatives for passing legislation on a bipartisan basis that will bring online gaming and sports wagering to Connecticut. We’d especially like to thank all of Connecticut’s great Southeastern delegation to the House, along with Speaker Matt Ritter and also Representative Maria Horn, chair of the Public Safety and Security Committee, for their hard work making this legislation possible.”
Gessner went on to add, “By modernizing our gaming industry in these ways, Connecticut will keep pace with neighboring states, protecting Connecticut jobs and generating tax revenues to the benefit of both state and local municipal budgets, as well as our tribe’s members. This is not just a regional issue — it will have a statewide impact as Connecticut works to meet critical needs as it recovers from the pandemic. We urge the State Senate to take up the bill as soon as possible, and we look forward to continued work with the General Assembly, and with Governor Ned Lamont, to continue moving Connecticut’s economy forward.”
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Bulter released a statement of his own before the House vote took place, in which he said, “We are pleased that the House of Representatives is scheduled tonight to take up legislation that will codify the agreement reached among the three sovereign governments. For our tribe, gaming is about much more than business; it is a means by which we rebuild our nation, educate our children and take care of our elders. Passage of this legislation will enable us to do just that, and more, for generations to come. We thank Governor Lamont, leadership of the General Assembly, members of the Southeastern Connecticut legislative delegation and the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, as well as the many members of the legislature who have supported us in this journey, especially those in the Public Safety and Finance committees. We are grateful for their friendship.”
The Connecticut Lottery Commission (CLC) is not wasting any time getting to work on building on the progress of the newly advanced HB 6451. The organization has already engaged with several prospective vendors and industry partners to ensure all parts of new sports betting and iLottery platforms are ready as soon as the bill advances through the Senate, is approved by the governor and is signed into law. The CLC will soon close its sports betting platform providers RFP, with a separate RFP for iLottery platform vendors to follow.
Connecticut Lottery Corporation Chairman Rob Simmelkjaer expressed his organizations’ optimism with gaming progress in the state, saying, “Today is a great day for the state of Connecticut. We are very pleased that the state legislature has approved this modernization of Connecticut’s gaming landscape. I congratulate and thank Governor Lamont and his team for their leadership and vision to reach this historic agreement and see it pass the Connecticut General Assembly. I also thank the leadership in both the Connecticut House and Senate for this milestone achievement.”