First, an apology. I have been under the weather for a few weeks and have not been able to keep up with my passion here at NETimeGambling.com. To add to my dilemma, for many of us in Music Education, March is the busiest month of the year, with trips, drama productions, concerts and state honors festivals all in the name of Music in our Schools Month. While I have loved the many staff members and students I have worked with, I am looking forward to more dedication to NETG as I am retiring from 41 years of teaching middle school music this June with many wonderful memories to take with me.
My sincerest apology for the lack of media and coverage concerning New England’s Casinos recently. Feeling better, I am now ready to continue the quality resource the you have grown to enjoy as NETG – NETimeGambling.com.
Now, as they say….”On with the show!…”
One-hundred and seventy-one years ago, the California Gold Rush was on! On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. Though he tried to keep it quiet, word spread and soon there was a surge in immigration to California from people hoping to strike it rich. It was the most famous gold rush in American history – until the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision to disapprove PASPA, allowing states to take control of sports betting authorization, has started a sports betting frenzy.
In the northeast, it’s one state stumbling over another trying to get to the finish line first – trying to find the new gold standard in casino gaming – sports betting. Long gone is the obsession with getting millennials through the casino doors. Now, a new obsession exists that many states legislators think is the Holy Grail of Gaming – sports betting.
In New England, Rhode Island ventured out first with approved sports betting at Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel, with rousing success that caused all the surrounding states to rush into sports betting legislature. Now it’s a race to see who can share that new found gold with the Ocean State. This is an update of that race.
For a related post, try: New England Sports Betting Arrives – Rhode Island Twin River First in NE
It’s The Time of Year For Gambling Legislation
The number of gambling bills introduced to New England’s state legislatures hit an all-time high in February. State by state, the new bills included:
- Four bills were introduced, ranging from sports betting to new casinos. They are: SB 11 – eliminate the federal requirement that’s stopping the Tribal Winds project in East Windsor from moving forward. Currently, the state needs approval from the Department of the Interior.
- SB 17 – allowing casino operators to conduct sports betting in person or online to anyone within the state 21 or older. If that bill is accepted, the Connecticut Lottery would also be allowed to offer an online keno product through an agreement with the two tribes. This could violate the state agreement with the tribes.
- Another bill to the house would form a state gaming commission and create a competitive bidding process for a new resort casino. The tribes said this would violate the compact.
- A second house bill would see the launch of the Connecticut Gaming Commission and would authorize a competitive bidding process for an integrated casino resort in the Connecticut city of Bridgeport. MGM is behind the bill and has been trying to get it approved for a couple of years.
MASSACHUSETTS – Gov. Charlie Baker proposed to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts. Baker’s proposal would allow both licensed casinos in Massachusetts and online platforms like DraftKings to build their own sports betting operations, and would limit gamblers to bets on professional sports, excluding collegiate and high school athletics, as well as Esports. Baker’s bill would give oversight of sports betting to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which would vet license applicants and enforce consumer protections, such as the prohibition on anyone under 21 from placing a bet. Some proposals floating around the Legislature would not allow mobile platforms to take part in sports betting, but instead require them to contract with a physical establishment like a casino.
RHODE ISLAND – Rhode Island could have online sports betting apps as soon as this year. Senate Dominick Ruggerio submitted legislation to allow mobile sports wagering through the Twin River properties. The bill contains a provision requiring initial, in-person registration for a mobile account at a Twin River property. Bettors then would be able to wager from anywhere in the state.
NEW HAMPSHIRE – Gov. Chris Sununu voiced his support for legislation that would make betting on sports games legal under the supervision of the state’s lottery commission. The bill, HB480, would legalize betting on professional sports and the majority of Division I college sports. Games involving New Hampshire colleges would be excluded. “Opening New Hampshire to legalized sports betting would bring in more than $10 million in additional revenue,” the governor’s office said. “Ten percent of revenue would be earmarked for services to support treatment and prevention of gambling addiction in the state. Other revenue would be put toward the state’s education system.”
MAINE – The Portland Press Herald reports the state legislature will consider several bills that would sanction and regulate sports betting, including:
- Benjamin Collins, the representative from Portland, is sponsoring a bill that will help Maine’s native tribes, and believes a compromise measure between various bills will come together. Such a bill would include sports betting legislation for casinos, off-track betting parlors, harness racing and tribes.
- Senate President Troy Jackson is sponsoring another two bills that would cover online and mobile gaming. His bills would prohibit betting on college sports, minor league teams as well as youth sports.
VERMONT – No legislation was filed in 2018, though a fantasy sports bill was proposed. The bill died in committee. NETG doesn’t expect it to happen in the Green Mountain State, at least in the next two years.
It does look like this latest gambling obsession is going to stick around. It will bring all sorts of traffic to the brick-and-mortar casinos, especially those large enough to build sports books that will cater to a wide variety of sports betters. Large casinos continue to depend on gambling less as the main revenue with entertainment, dining, and conventions taking on more of the burden. States across the country are salivating at yet another way gambling can give a quick fix to their financial woes.
I think we are seeing just the tip of gold nugget…..