Sportech Leader: Don't Lose the Race on Sports Betting in Connecticut
This Saturday, fans from across the globe will be watching one of the world’s greatest sporting events–the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby. Sportech has been Connecticut’s premiere provider of horse racing excitement for over quarter of a century, accepting wagers from Connecticut residents at Sportech’s Winners and Bobby V’s locations, and via our online betting site and mobile app. Watching the Derby with Sportech is the next best thing to being at Churchill Downs.
As we kick off this exciting Triple Crown season, Sportech’s 400 employees in Connecticut are asking for the chance to have a horse in the race for sports betting and not be left in the stalls.
Connecticut needs to deliver sports betting legislation now, before it’s too late, and empower those gaming operators who have partnered with Connecticut for over a quarter century to deliver it responsibly.
Neighboring states have grasped this opportunity and licensed existing operators to manage sports books, creating jobs and generating incremental tax gains for their states. New Jersey has received over $20 million alone in just a few months.
Sportech’s traditional Connecticut wagering business is already declining as customers travel to New Jersey and Rhode Island to bet on their favorite teams or use illegal online gambling sites to place their bets. The introduction of sports betting and new casinos in other neighboring states will further exacerbate this.
Connecticut’s lawmakers have an opportunity to secure Sportech’s existing jobs, protect Sportech’s existing tax revenues and create growth in both, with common sense legislation to legalize in venue and online sports betting through the State’s existing licensed four gaming operators: the two Tribal Casinos, the State Lottery, and Sportech.
There have been discussions around having an “in venue” sports betting offering only with no online capability. That model doesn’t work; it cannot tackle the illegal markets and would, unfortunately, offer the equivalent of a Blockbuster Video store within a Netflix world.
What’s at stake is far more than the future taxes from sports betting alone. Just taking into consideration its current betting operations in Connecticut, Sportech employs about 400 Connecticut residents and pays millions of dollars in taxes each year. Those employees’ jobs should matter, just as our customers matter and the taxes we deliver matter.
All we are seeking is common sense legislation to legalize in-venue and online sports betting through the State’s existing licensed four gaming operators: the two Tribal Casinos, the State Lottery, and Sportech.
I would urge all parties to work together and deliver a simple solution that grants both retail and online sports betting licenses to all four existing gaming operators NOW, before neighboring states and illegal operators take all our business, steal our tax dollars, and ultimately, decimate our jobs.
By Richard McGuire, Executive Chairman of Sportech PLC