Joe Verrengia Introduces Connecticut Sports Betting Bill

Connecticut Sports Betting Bill

Joe Verrengia’s sports betting bill offers an 0.25% integrity fee, plus lottery, OTB, and tribal casino sports wagers.

Connecticut Representative Joe Verrengia, chair of the House Public Safety and Security Committee, introduced a sports betting bill into the state legislation. One of its key provisions is an integrity fee that would pay sports leagues for their efforts to prevent match-fixing and other corruption.

The integrity fee is a departure from most sports betting bills passed in the year since the US Supreme Court struck down a 46-state sports betting ban that opened the door to a wave of legislation. Many states originally considered an integrity fee of 1% to 2%, before passing bills devoid of such provisions.

The Connecticut sports betting bill is a bit of a compromise, because it has an integrity fee of only 0.25%.

The integrity fee would be applied on a game-by-game basis. If a Connecticut sports gambler bet on an NFL game, then the 0.25% would go the NFL league office. If a bettor wagered on an NBA game or a Major League Baseball game, then that particular league would collect the fee.

Sports Betting Integrity Fee

The integrity fee would not go entirely to the sports leagues. Instead, a particular league would share the fee with the state‚Äôs Department of Economic Development. Apparently, Connecticut’s part of the fee would go to establishing a bigger prescence in the state by the leagues involved.

The full details of the “bigger prescence” are not known, but one idea was bringing exhibition games to Connecticut. In the NFL preseason each year, each franchise plays four exhibition games. Another idea would be to have the leagues and the Economic Development Department promote youth sports in the state.

Of course, each league would keep a certain part of the integrity fee for itself, though the specific percentage is left vague. In fact, Joe Verrengia’s bill would allow the state government to negotiate with each league in a one-on-one situation.

Connecticut Economic Development Fund

Since the NFL generates a great deal more sports betting than the NHL, for example, the NFL might stipulate that a smaller percentage of its integrity fee goes to the Connecticut Economic Development Fund. In such a situation, the NFL would generate much larger revenues, but still pay the same amount into Connecticut’s economic development as the other leagues.

Joe Verrengia’s bill is quite expansive, because it involves tribal gaming, lottery venues, and off-track betting facilities. Connecticut’s two tribal casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casino, would be able to operate land-based sportsbooks and launch single-state mobile sports betting apps.

Lottery and OTB Facilities Involved

Commercial gaming venues also would have the right to host sports betting. Lottery vendors would act as off-track betting facilities for a wide range of sports wagers. In all, 490 lottery vendors and 14 traditional off-track betting facilities would have sports betting kiosks or otherwise offer sports bets.

Operators could offer bets on pro and college sports, though high school sports would be off-limits. A wide range of wagers would be available: single-game sports bets, parlay bets (sports lotteries), prop bets, and in-play betting. In-play or live betting is a popular form of gambling now offered on Android smartphones, iPhones, iPads, and tablet computers. Such bets allow dozens of prop bets on the next key event in the game.

Joe Verrengia’s Sports Betting Bill

The bill hits all the notes that would make it appealing to betting operators in the state, but also the sports leagues with a vested interest in the games. Rep. Verrengia says he is confident his bill will be moved out of committee and through the General Assembly.

While any bill will have its moments of doubt, Verrengia’s sports betting bill has a good chance of passing in the General Assembly and the Senate — and eventually ending up on Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk.