Gov. Malloy Says Online Gambling Inevitable in Connecticut

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the 88th and current Governor of Connecticut, believes it is inevitable online gambling will come to Connecticut, given the recent federal opinion on the Wire Act, “I think there is a level of misunderstanding about online gambling and its prospects in the state of Connecticut,” Malloy said Monday during a brief press conference at the Legislative Office Building.

Malloy told reporters that his office is also looking at other issues stemming from the possible advent of Internet gambling, such as whether to allow the casinos or the state lottery to handle any potential online gambling operations based in Connecticut.

“It is quite clear that Internet gaming is coming to Connecticut. Period. It’s coming,” the governor said. “We have a stake in protecting that industry,” Malloy said of the casinos, which employ 20,000 people and turn over $350 million annually to the state.

“The Internet is the Internet. You don’t turn off the Internet at any state’s borders,” he said. “It’s an impossibility.”

“If it moves forward, and it’s clearly going to move forward, it’s going to be available in Connecticut,” he said. “Now we have to decide, in the state of Connecticut, what is our approach to that.”

“It’s a national decision that has largely already been made. So the question is, what do you do to defend the tens of thousands of jobs directly and indirectly tied to those two (tribal casinos, Foxwoods Resorts Casino and Mohegan Sun Resort) and I think that’s a legitimate question and that’s one of the things that we’re considering,” Malloy said.

Congress has shown no inclination to stop the Justice Department ruling, Malloy said. “Once it happens it’s universally available in the United States and we have to decide what to do about it. … Try and shut down AOL, try and shut down any service. You can’t do it.”

Later Monday, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney took issue with Malloy’s assertion that online gambling is inevitable in Connecticut.

McKinney said Congress could step in and prevent that. “We are talking about a legal opinion from an attorney in the Department of Justice,” he said. “Certainly Congress could say were going to change our laws and make sure that’s not happening. I would encourage our members of Congress to do that.”

But even if Congress doesn’t act and other states begin offering online gambling options, that doesn’t mean Connecticut can’t regulate it, McKinney said. “It’s our job to stand up for the health and safety of our citizens. We can take a position,” he said.

Reported by Maggie B.

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