Casino Gambling in Connecticut: What’s Going On

Gambling Addiction Receiving More Attention
In the Nation’s Capital

Prompted largely by the explosion in internet gambling, legislators in Washington are paying more attention to the problem of gambling addiction.  In a recent opinion piece for The Hill John Kindt urged Congress “to act quickly to eliminate the surging specter of 24/7 sports gambling.”
The Hill is a political newspaper and website which coves “the inner workings of Congress.”  Mr. Kindt is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, teaching law and economics. He is also senior editor of the multi-volume United States-International Gaming Report.   Here is his piece:

Internet gambling addiction is a looming crisis

By John Kindt, opinion contributor — 12/08/18 03:00 PM EST

In her Nov. 28 presentation at Liberty University, First Lady Melania Trump stated that the opioid epidemic was the “worst drug crisis in American history.”

The Trump administration even appeared to signal that opioids/addictions needed to be treated as a socio-economic security issue because Melania’s trip entourage included Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Similar to the bipartisan issue of opioid addiction, the looming crisis of internet gambling addiction is now getting renewed attention.

On Sep. 27, House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Chair James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) held a hearing on internet sports gambling, which he followed with a pointed Nov. 15 letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) asking what actions DOJ proposes to initiate on the matter.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have also raised parallel concerns.

Jeopardizing millions of families, internet gambling addiction is currently the fastest growing addiction among kids, high schoolers and college students because of real-time 24/7 sports gambling on cell phones and video games.

Young gamblers are notoriously unaware that most internet gambling is illegal in the United States, as exemplified by the case where a University of Wisconsin honor student lost over $72,000 in tuition money on illegal internet sports gambling, killed three young men in the bookie’s apartment and thereafter committed suicide.

The United Kingdom has legalized more types of electronic gambling than the United States, and therefore, U.K. reports for November are illustrative of anticipated comparable U.S. numbers within the next 2 to 4 years.

The U.K. Gambling Commission reported that 1 in 7 children ages 11 to 16 (U.S. = 2.2 million kids) gamble regularly, which is more than those who have smoked, taken drugs or consumed alcohol — reflected in a 400-percent increase over 2 years in the numbers of kids becoming addicted and problem gamblers.

Via social media, 1 in 6 boys reportedly followed betting brands, and in this age group about 1 million kids (U.S. = 500,00 kids) had explored internet gambling via smartphone apps and video-game “loot boxes.”

Among the European Union, the almost universal trend of countries is to declare loot boxes illegal, but comparable U.S. safeguards have been legislatively paralyzed by the gambling industry.

As implied in Sensenbrenner’s DOJ letter, the gambling industry has used its legal clout in recent years to negate congressional legislative safeguards on gambling, and U.S. kids will be victimized.

First, the DOJ decided administratively not to enforce the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Second, a dubious 2011 DOJ memorandum “reinterpreted” U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s 1961 Wire Act, which was passed to fight organized crime.

Third, the gambling industry got the U.S. Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) neutered by the U.S. Supreme Court via a 10th Amendment argument in Murphy v. NCAA, 584 U.S. (2018).

For two decades, the congressional bipartisan U.S. National Gambling Impact Study Commission, as well as the U.S. medical and psychological communities, have delimited electronic sports gambling as the “crack-cocaine” for addicting new gamblers — particularly kids.

The commission also concluded that internet gambling was impossible to regulate and could only be “prohibited.” While opioids and illegal drugs may be found on street corners, illegal internet gambling will soon be available everywhere — via in-your-face, real-time gambling on every cell phone and video game.

In the U.K., 8 percent of the 2018 advertising market is gambling advertising, which is seven times more than Proctor and Gamble spends.

Despite seven U.S. state attorneys general initiating legal actions against illegal daily fantasy sports in 2015, a couple of DFS operators together were the largest U.S. advertisers for 2015.

Without new U.S. safeguards, millions of American and international kids will continue to be targeted by the gambling industry and will become gambling addicts, creating enormous social and economic costs. A bipartisan Congress needs to act quickly to eliminate the surging specter of 24/7 sports gambling.
–John Kindt


The Bill That Was Passed Last Spring: How Your Legislators Voted

Earlier this year the legislature passed bill SB-957: “AN ACT CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF GAMING AND THE AUTHORIZATION OF A CASINO GAMING FACILITY IN THE STATE.”  The bill authorized the operation of an off-reservation casino gaming facility in East Windsor, and gave the Pequot and Mohegan tribes the exclusive right to own and operate the facility.  Read a detailed analysis of the bill here.
To see how your state senator voted on this bill, look here:
https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/VOTE/s/2017SV-00168-R00SB00957-SV.htm
To see how your state representative voted on this bill, look here:
https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/VOTE/h/2017HV-00364-R00SB00957-HV.htm

To contact either your senator or rep to let him know your opinion, visit this page on our website.


Casino expansion would further state’s decline. . .

Former Congressman Robert Steele and State Senator Tony Hwang articulated the many reasons to oppose pending legislation in the Senate in a piece published in the Journal Inquirer.
Read their piece here.

 


History

Casino gambling came to Connecticut in the 1990s, when the Mashantucket Pequots opened Foxwoods and the Mohegans opened Mohegan Sun on their respective Indian reservations in southeastern Connecticut.

With virtually no competition other than from Atlantic City, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun quickly became two of the world’s biggest and most profitable casinos, drawing over half their combined customers from out of state, creating some 20,000 casino jobs, and sending hundreds of millions of dollars a year in slot machine winnings to the Connecticut state treasury under a revenue sharing arrangement with the state.

Since then, however, the competitive landscape has changed dramatically as more and more states have opened casinos. When Foxwoods opened in 1992 there were only 10 other casinos in the 12 states of the Northeast, all of them in Atlantic City, 250 miles away. Today there are 58 casinos in the Northeast and more are planned or under construction despite the fact that casinos are increasingly cannibalizing one another. As a result of the growing competition, Foxwoods’ and Mohegan Sun’s combined revenue is already down 40% from its peak and the two casinos have eliminated over 8,000 jobs.

The Campaign to Expand Casino Gambling in Connecticut

In July 2017 the State of Connecticut authorized the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans to jointly open a $300 million commercial, off-reservation casino in East Windsor in order to compete with the new $950 million mega-casino MGM is building in Springfield, MA.

The East Windsor casino faces two obstacles before it can go forward, however.

First, the State Legislature approved the East Windsor casino with the proviso that the U.S. Department of the Interior approve an amendment to the current state-tribal compacts stipulating that the new casino would not alter the current compact terms that give the tribes the exclusive right to operate casino gambling in Connecticut in return for 25% of their slot revenues. The Department of the Interior has not yet approved such an amendment, and instead recently issued a confusing letter that neither approves nor rejects it.

Second, MGM has challenged the constitutionality of giving the tribes the exclusive right to build a commercial casino in Connecticut, and has proposed that, as an alternative, the state allow MGM to build a $675 casino in Bridgeport to tap the Fairfield County and New York markets. MGM claims the Bridgeport casino would generate more net revenue and jobs for the state than the East Windsor casino, and is threatening to hold up the East Windsor casino indefinitely in court while it presses its Bridgeport proposal.

These proposed casinos are a bad bet!  Click here for Ten Reasons to Oppose Expansion of Casino Gambling in Connecticut .

Click here for a printable version of this page: Whats_Going_On.doc.