Online gambling is alive and well in the United States, but only in a few select areas. Nevada offers strictly online poker while New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania offer both options. Other states have pondered the option but have had no luck moving forward to launch gaming. In Connecticut, it seems a new organization titled the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) has requested that Governor Ned Lamont approve online gambling for the state.
Let’s Get Going
Due to the casino shutdowns from the spread of the coronavirus, a total of 22 municipalities are seeking that online games be an option for the two tribes that provide land-based services in the state. Online gambling on a temporary basis would bring in much-needed revenues as money is lost during the shutdown.
The governor quickly dismissed the idea, stating that online gambling is a significant policy decision and that it would not be appropriate to pass it via executive order, even if it was for a temporary time frame.
The Mohegan Sun and the Foxwoods venues are the closed casinos, both important as an employer of local workers and a contributor to the state via slot gaming revenues. The casinos are operated by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot and pay hundreds of millions in tax dollars each year to have exclusivity regarding casinos in the state.
As a top ten employer in the state, the tribes are among the largest casinos in the world when you consider their employee numbers. The total workforce of the state is around 1.9 million. Around 11,500 are employed via Foxwoods and around 8,000 for the Mohegan Sun. The casinos closed their doors on March 17th, much like other venues in the US to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The closure was only supposed to be around two weeks but has been extended due to how the virus has moved throughout the state. It will most likely be a few more weeks at least before the venues will be able to reopen even on a limited basis.
Right now, 12,000 people who are employed by the casinos are out of work. As the casinos stay closed, tens of millions are lost in revenues, money that would go towards local municipalities as well as the state.
Online for Play-Money
Right now, both of the casinos in the state offer online gaming options. Yet, players can only wager with play money. The group and casinos have pointed out that online gaming is already set up in an attempt to get the governor to agree to legalize the option, claiming it would be easy to convert from play money to real money gaming.
However, Lamont is not open to the idea. He is not even ready to consider the possibility. Even if he was approving it would most likely take some time to get the technological aspects in order. Geolocation would have to be used to ensure that players who take part are in Connecticut rather than somewhere else. Out-of-state bets would have to be banned.
For now, it seems the group is going to keep trying. It is unclear if the governor will move away from his current stance. If the closure continues for some time, he may become more open so that revenues can be brought into the state. Only time will tell if any change will be seen when it comes to online gambling in Connecticut.