PHOTO CREDIT: NIKOS FRAZIER-USA TODAY SPORTS

Connecticut took a step forward in legalizing both sports betting and online sports gambling as the state’s Public Safety and Security Committee advanced several gaming-expansion bills to the House of Representatives and the Senate on Wednesday morning.

The committee approval places a recently struck deal between Gov. Ned Lamont and the state’s two gaming tribes, the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegan Tribes, in front of the House of Representatives. Included in the proposed deal is an agreement between the state and the two tribes to open online sportsbooks if sports wagering is ultimately approved by lawmakers.

Connecticut Sports Betting Bills A Long Time Coming

The approved bills to expand and modernize gaming to include sports betting and online gaming have been a long time coming, Rep. Maria Horn, D-Salisbury, the committee co-chair, said Wednesday before the votes.

“There has been a lot of work, a lot of meetings, a lot of phone calls, sometimes heated conversations, sometimes some cooling off periods, but a lot of thoughtful contributions from many people on this committee,” Horn prior to votes being cast.

The committee action comes almost a week after the recent agreement struck between the state and the two tribes. Included in the agreement is an allowance for the state to operate an online sports betting skin through the Connecticut State Lottery and operate up to 15 retail sports betting locations.

Connecticut Sports Betting Tax Rates Come Into Focus

Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans, which operate the Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, would each be able to operate online sportsbooks. A 13.75% tax rate on sports wagering and an 18% tax rate for the first five years on new online commercial casino gaming would go into effect, followed by a 20% tax rate for at least the next five years.

The state will have the right to sublicense locations to the state-licensed parimutuel operator and may include new retail sports betting venues in Hartford and Bridgeport, according to the agreement.

Both tribes will also agree to cease plans to construct an East Windsor casino through the next 10 years.

While the bills were sent forward, Horn stressed they were all “works in progress.” She noted the bills will likely undergo changes before final approval.

“I have had calls even this morning about technical things that need to be worked out, inconsistencies that might need to be worked out and some details that still lie ahead. All of the bills ahead of us represent our best efforts to document the agreement between the parties and our intent for what we want to achieve going forward,” she said.