With the United State Supreme Court ruling on sports betting looming, Connecticut is moving closer and closer to a legalized and regulated sports betting industry. It is now even more likely thanks to the backing that the efforts to legalize sports betting have received from professional sports leagues.
Case in point, on Tuesday, two big-time major professional league sports stars brought their star power to the Connecticut capital to push for the legalization of sports betting. Former New York Mets and New York Yankees star Al Leiter and Boston Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell met with the state’s lawmakers in a bid to sway them to support sports betting.
Cedric Maxwell argued that Connecticut has an upper hand when it comes to sports betting simply because the casinos are already there. This claim has been confirmed by Major League Baseball’s senior vice president Morgan Sword who pointed out that Connecticut’s legislature is way ahead of the curve when compared to other states as far as sports betting is concerned.
“We think Connecticut has a real chance to pass a state-of-the-art statute here that could act as a model for other states,’’ Sword commented. “We’ve been very impressed with the level of expertise that these guys have on this issue.’’
Both Leiter and Maxwell expressed confidence in their beliefs that sports betting will be beneficial to basketball, baseball, as well as other sports so long as it is regulated.
“Assuming that the Supreme Court makes sports betting legal everywhere outside of Las Vegas, there’s going to be potential issues,’’ Leiter said. “I don’t know how it’s actually going to play out — whether brick and mortar or existing casinos or online. The more you broaden that, there’s got to be some regulation and some people watching to make sure that everything is done properly and maintain the integrity of the respective sport. … There has to be some oversight.’’
But That’s Not All
Despite the input by the sports stars, the state’s politics will be the major influencer of the final decision. Last week, Joe Aresimowicz, the House Speaker said that it was very unlikely that the legislation would be passed before the current legislative period ends. According to the speaker, the casino expansion and sports betting issues in the state are complex issues that require comprehensive strategies before they are enacted.
“There are just so many moving parts,” Aresimowicz said at a briefing. “We need to figure out what’s best for Connecticut.”