Connecticut Kills Sports Betting Bill While West Virginia Remains Confused
Lawmakers across the United States are scrambling to get their ducks in a row so that they can offer regulated sports betting to their constituents, should the US Supreme Court overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA). But lawmakers in Connecticut and West Virginia are finding the devil is in the details when it comes to introducing new products to existing gambling ecosystems.
In Connecticut, lawmakers killed HB 5307, which would have regulated sports betting in the state. By all accounts, most major stakeholders were on board with the bill but all that changed at the last moment. Apparently he Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, who operator Foxwoods, thought that they would be operating the sports book themselves. Lawmakers weren’t on board with that idea and the bill was shelved.
In saying goodbye to regulated sports betting, at least for this year, Connecticut is also saying goodbye to a projected $6.5 million in tax revenue from the new vertical.
In West Virginia, lawmakers were moving along with their sports betting bill quite nicely until Governor Jim Justice stepped in and muddied the waters. West Virginia’s bill sidestepped the professional sports leagues’ demands for a one percent cut of the handle entirely. The Governor, however, has seemingly negotiated his own deal with them that promises .25 percent of the handle.
West Virginia operators aren’t keen on any of this as West Virginia has no professional sports teams, though it does have a couple Division I football programs. Their idea was to simply purchase live betting data from the leagues and leave it at that.
After a day long meeting last week, stakeholders in the matter are closer to coming to some sort of agreement, but all involved seemed surprised by the Governor’s late entry into this already complicated process.
In short, regulated sports betting in the United States is still, very much, a work in progress and lawmakers are still navigating the legal and economic issues it entails. (And it’s not even guaranteed that the Supreme Court will even OK sports betting in the first place.)
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