CT lawmakers discuss impact of national sports betting case - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT lawmakers discuss impact of national sports betting case

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Connecticut is bracing for a verdict in a national sports betting Supreme Court case.

The verdict for Christie v. NCAA is expected this year, according to state lawmakers.

Christie v. NCAA deals with a commerce clause and the Tenth Amendment.

Essentially, it comes down to whether or not the federal government has the right to control state lawmaking.

The case came about after New Jersey sought to have a sports protection act overturned, which would allow state-sponsored sports betting.

Right now, you can't bet on a baseball game but that could change.

"Every state is going to legalize sports gaming in the next two or three years,” said Democratic State Rep. Matt Ritter, majority leader.

Sports betting is allowed in only four states, but a Supreme Court ruling could open it up to all states. Democratic lawmakers want to be ready. They want to regulate it and tax it, and have invited major league teams for their perspective.

"Getting major league baseball, the NBA to come to Connecticut was not easy task, but we pulled it off and I look forward to the continued discussion,” said Democratic State Rep. Joe Verrengia.

The money is tempting. Rhode Island is already counting on $20 million, and Connecticut lawmakers expect revenue to be higher, anywhere between $40 and $80 million.

Republicans say many things should be considered, not just the money.

"We shouldn't be balancing the budget on that, similar to marijuana, gambling just shouldn't be a component to budget,” said Republican State Rep. Vinnie Candelora.

The owner of Sportech, which has dog and horse racing as well as Jai Alai betting all over the state, says these would be perfect venues because they're already regulated.

"The state has got to be very careful to make sure that the licensing and the regulations protect the customers allows regulation but make sure the state gets its cut,” said Ted Taylor, owner of Sportech.

Some lawmakers want it, on track betting wants it, and what they don't want is to lose money to other states from "internet" gambling.

"Anything like that where it’s not hurting anybody else, you should be trying to get as much money into the state no matter what,” said Keenan O’Reilly, who supports sports betting.

Connecticut lawmakers are expecting the federal government to decide soon, possibly this summer, which means they will have to figure out how to regulate sports gambling and how they will let Connecticut businesses in on the action.

An informational hearing with the major leagues as well as those who have concerns about gambling is scheduled for Thursday. A public hearing will be next month on March 8.

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