We caught up with Gov. Dannel Malloy during his visit this morning to Newtown about this Internet gambling news that’s been making waves this week.
Although plenty of questions remain, it appears a recent Department of Justice decision – first reported last week by the Wall Street Journal - paves the way for online gaming nationwide.
Attorney General George Jepsen in an email today told me his office continues to review the opinion, but he’s leaning toward that interpretation. And Malloy’s pretty darn certain.
The governor expressed an openness to online gaming and other efforts at bolstering the state’s gaming industry in a mid-December interview with the CT Mirror. Then the Hartford Courant caught up with the governor this week following the release of the DOJ’s ruling.
And today – perhaps feeling some heat from gambling critics – Malloy expanded on his thoughts in an interview with our Hearst columnist, Brian Koonz.
“Listen, I’m not a big proponent of gaming. But what’s going to happen based on the change in position by the U.S. Justice Department … is that there’s going to be online gaming in the United States,” the governor told Koonz. “So it’s not a question of whether it’s going to happen … (And if) all of the online potential within our state goes to companies that are outside our state, then obviously we end up the big loser.”
What about concerns expanded gambling creates more addicts and societal burdens? As Courant columnist Rick Green recently wrote on his blog, “What do you think will happen when out-of-control gambling is as easy as logging on?”
“We do spend about $1.9 million a year (to help problem gamblers),” Malloy told us in Newtown. “If you’re asking me do I think it’s foreseeable in the futrue we may need to spend more money, I think the answer is in the affirmative. What the right level of money is and what the actual challenges will be remain to be seen. But at $1.9 million we’re big investors and we’re probably going to have to invest more.”