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Connecticut May Turn To Internet Casinos To Stay Ahead In Northeast

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has sat back and watched in recent years as other Northeastern states have lined up to take business from his state. New gaming laws all across the Northeast have taken gamblers out of Connecticut casinos and moved them to places like Maine, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Last week, the Department of Justice threw every state in the nation a bone when they issued a legal opinion that excludes casino games from the Wire Act. That declaration allows states to now regulate online gambling within their borders, and Connecticut plans to be one of the first to do so.

"Obviously, gaming is an important part of our economy," said Malloy. "It appears that the only thing the Justice Department has ruled is off the table is sports betting, with the exception of horse betting. So with that one exclusion, everything is up for consideration by the states."

Most states understand that a key to becoming relevant in the online gaming industry will be to become one of the first states to regulate the activity. Malloy claims that Connecticut legislators will take up the issue, possibly as soon as the upcoming session to start the new year. Analysts believe that online gambling could bring tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue to the state.

Connecticut's existing casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, seem likely to receive online gaming licenses should the laws change. The two tribal casinos have struggled to keep their customers in recent years, with competition in the Northeast becoming as fierce as anywhere in the country. Tribal executives are now anticipating a change in the current laws.

"This is something we've been watching," said Chuck Bunnell, a spokesman for Mohegan Sun. "We've been anticipating that the United States would move into this arena."

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