Connecticut has recently expanded its gambling market with the addition of iGaming and online sports betting. The state has been a desirable market for many operators. With such a flourishing ecosystem, everyone, pro, and anti-gamblers alike agree that a study will benefit the industry. However, this study might take a while.
The Study Might Not Be Finished by January 2023
Senate Bill 140 suggests an examination of all forms of gambling in the state. The aim is to determine whether to grow the sector, scale it down or leave it as it is. The proposition envisions the study to be completed by January next year – a deadline that some specialists believe is impossible. Michelle Seagull, a commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection, said that various setbacks might affect the effectiveness of the research.
“By the time money is allocated, the scope is defined, you get bids and make a selection. There could be only a couple of months left to do the study – it won’t be as thorough as if they had six or seven months.”
Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection commissioner Michelle Seagull
It is worth noting that the Constitution State hasn’t had a thorough gambling study since 2009, even though a mandate states that one must be conducted at least once every decade.
The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling had reported that the number of people looking for its services skyrocketed after online sports betting and iGaming were legalized. Because of concerns about growing rates of gambling harm, many people believe that action is needed.
Diana Goode, the executive director of the Council on Problem Gambling, didn’t immediately point a finger at the expanded betting industry but emphasized that a detailed study is a must. She reminded that the council doesn’t oppose gambling but rather seeks to make it safer for families impacted by harm. Goode said that to achieve the best results, the study should be conducted by an unbiased party.
Senator Tony Hwang agrees with Goode’s remarks, confirming that the study should be objective and academic. A Republican and an opponent of gambling himself, Hwang appealed to increase the funding for the study to $5 million – more than five times more than what was allocated for 2009’s study.
Hwang noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the interest in gambling products as betting became a coping mechanism for the struggling public. However, many people’s relationship with gambling is a harmful one, he added. The Senator added that some Connecticut residents claim the emotional harm of gambling far exceeds the financial.
State Bill 140 has gathered supporters from all walks of life, including people who promote gambling and such who besmirch it. The Connecticut Lottery and the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes are some of the gambling industry professionals who expressed their willingness to cooperate with the study.
Connecticut’s anti-gambling parties recently introduced another bill that proposes to ban greyhound racing from the state, claiming that it is inhumane.