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Sports Betting In Connecticut: Penultimate Hurdle Cleared

 Connecticut state Sen. John Kissel
Image from CT-N video.
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Connecticut state Sen. John Kissel

A state legislative committee has approved expanded gaming regulations.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont applauded the approval in a statement sent to reporters Tuesday.

“The passage of the regulations for sports wagering and online gaming is a significant step forward for Connecticut and our partners in this new marketplace,” Lamont said.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee took up 82 pages of regulations from the Department of Consumer Protection. The regulations, which include a road map on licensing sports betting operators and the implementation of responsible gaming measures, were opposed by four of the four14 lawmakers on the committee.

Among them is Republican state Sen. John Kissel, who thinks the state is rushing the regulations to roll out sports betting by the first week of the NFL season.

“Land of steady habits, I’d rather walk instead of run,” Kissel said. “I don’t see a race here.”

Kissel and his colleagues said they were concerned about state residents being able to bet on credit.

“I have general concerns regarding what this is going to do with disposable income and the families that are facing [a] tremendous amount of pressures right now in Connecticut,” Kissel said.

But Michelle Seagull, commissioner of the state Department of Consumer Protection, said some people believe the state is not offering enough ways for people to fund sports betting accounts, since regulators won’t allow PayPal or Venmo as acceptable forms of payment.

“There’s concern — not that we’re being too lax in what we allow people to fund with — but, that we’re actually being too cautious,” Seagull said.

The last major hurdle in the way of live sports betting is federal approval of a tribal-state compact between Connecticut and two tribal nations being licensed to carry it: the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

“With the NFL season kickoff fast approaching, we are working to launch online gaming and sports betting as soon as we are legally allowed to do so,” Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation chairman Rodney Butler said in a written statement e-mailed to Connecticut Public Radio Tuesday.

He expects formal federal approval within the next two weeks.

The tribes submitted the amended compacts in late July, starting a 45-day clock for the U.S. Department of Interior Secretary to approve their entry into the federal register.

It expires just in time for the kickoff the 2021 NFL season on September 9.