You can now bet on line while you smoke your marijuana cigarette — all legal now in Connecticut. What could go wrong?
During the pandemic we have all learned how easy it is to use your phone, iPad or computer to order goods from Amazon and have them arrive the next day. It is so easy to do and so rewarding, it has become almost addictive.
Now – introduce on-line gambling — available on your cell phone, iPad or computer. With a click here and there — no cash seemingly being exchanged — how addictive will that be? Until there is no money left in your account. What then?
The biggest winner of the new on-line betting legislation is the Connecticut Lottery, which gains authority to go far beyond selling lottery tickets. The lottery could now operate online lottery draw games, online keno and both retail and online sports betting. The lottery can sublicense locations to Sportech, the state-licensed parimutuel operator.
The lawmakers who passed this bill into law knew full well that on-line gambling would cause people to become addicted to it and they knew people would go bankrupt. So did that keep them from passing the bill? NO. Lawmakers just added to the bill: The lottery corporation would contribute an additional $1 million for problem gambling, while the tribal operators of the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos would contribute $500,000 each toward prevention and addiction programs.
Some lawmakers focused on problem gambling, saying the state needs to take measures to help those who lose huge amounts of money.
Now let’s add to the new on-line betting law the marijuana bill that passed into law this session. It passed above the doctors in Connecticut asking it not to pass and the African American clergy in Bridgeport asking it not to pass and Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI) asking if all the minority neighborhoods had been canvased to see if they really wanted the marijuana stores in their neighborhoods — as the legislature was claiming they were helping.
This was a bad legislative session in Connecticut and we will now all have to live with its ramifications.
Nancy Alderman is President of Environment and Human Health, Inc.