Gambling Legislation

Connecticut delays study on gambling expansion

Connecticut legislators continue to question the need for online casinos

A long-awaited study of the impact of legalized gambling on Connecticut residents will begin in two weeks. While it is an important part of the state’s effort to expand gambling legislation, it’s also yet another delay in the process.

The study will begin on August 15 and is mandated by legislation passed in 2022. A spokesman for the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services says the vendor chosen to conduct the study was supposed to start on Tuesday and asked for more time after a “contracting process” delay.

Gemini Research of Northampton, MA, was awarded the $1.25 million contract for the study after vetting replies to a proposals request allocated last October. Its president, Rachel Volberg, says she couldn’t discuss the study’s findings, which will not be immediately open to the public. State officials are expected first to review the study and release it to the public “as soon as possible,” said Volberg.

A research professor at the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health & Health Sciences in Amherst, Volberg is the chief investigator for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s current study of the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts, or SEIGMA. According to her, a Connecticut study similar to SEIGMA concentrates on the social and economic impacts and problem gambling. The effect of Massachusetts’ casinos was analyzed by SEIGMA, such as the MGM Springfield that opened in 2016.

Volberg said she also took part in Connecticut gambling impact studies in the 1990s and remembered that the last mandated impact study was in 2009. State law at that time required these studies to be conducted at least every ten years, a condition the state failed to meet.

Legalized gambling in Connecticut now includes sports betting and keno online and at the Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods Resort, and specific lottery retailers. There are also online casino gaming and fantasy sports. Online lottery ticket sales are also permitted.

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