Gov. Malloy reverses course; says legislature will not be called back for special session on sports betting

HARTFORD  – It’s a reversal of course for Connecticut.

On Wednesday Gov. Dan Malloy said the legislature will likely not be called back into special session this year to tackle the issue of sports betting in Connecticut.

That’s contrary to what we’ve heard between May and now. May was when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal government’s ban on sports betting. It cleared the way for states to take up the issue.

MGM is set to open this week in Springfield, threatening to take jobs and revenue out of Connecticut and the East Windsor casino project is stuck in regulatory limbo. Connecticut legislators seemed eager back in May to beat other states to the punch when it came to sports betting.

The Governor has spent the past several months locked in closed-door meetings with the tribes who run Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in an effort to renegotiate the state’s gaming compact.

Gov. Malloy said that three weeks ago, they were just days away from a deal, but says Republicans don’t want to come back for special session. One Republican leader called it an issue of trust.

“Three weeks ago, we were within days of reaching an agreement, said Gov. Dannel Malloy and I don’t think circumstances have change dramatically except that the Republicans in the legislature have indicated that they don’t want to come back into session,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy.

“I don’t have any details of what he negotiated, but given the deal that he negotiated with KENO where he just gave away 25% of the revenue, I don’t have a lot of confidence in this governor negotiating the deal,” said State Rep. Vincent Candelora, the Deputy Republican leader.

Rep. Candelora said he wants the issue handled in January, by a new governor, and through a public hearing process. But negotiating a compact is well within executive authority.

Candelora said that Connecticut can’t be too quick to grab the money. He said the compact with tribes having exclusive rights to gaming makes it complicated. The issue of sports betting also raises concerns with the NCAA and if professional sports leagues should be entitled to a cut of the revenue.