PA 07-144—sHB 7043

Public Safety and Security Committee

Planning and Development Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING OFF-TRACK BETTING BRANCH FACILITIES AND BINGO PRIZES

SUMMARY: This act increases the number of off-track betting (OTB) facilities that may operate as simulcasting facilities (i. e. , televise OTB programs) from eight to 10 of the 18 authorized OTB facilities and specifies the location of all 10. Prior law specified the location of four. The act eliminates the zone of protection, which restricted simulcasting within certain distances of other OTB or pari-mutuel facilities.

The act also increases the value of certain bingo prizes. With exceptions, prior law limited the value of bingo prizes to $50. One exception allowed a permittee to award prizes valued at $51 to $200 in one day if the total value of such prizes did not exceed $600. The act increases the base award from $50 to $100. It increases the award under the exception by allowing prizes valued at $101 to $300 in any day as long as the total value does not exceed $1,200.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage for the OTB provisions; October 1, 2007 for the bingo provision.

LOCATION OF SIMULCASTING FACILITIES

By law, simulcasting facilities are OTB facilities that provide live television coverage of OTB programs and jai alai games and have restaurants, concessions, and other amenities. Other OTB facilities have bench seating, public restrooms for patrons, and monitors for OTB information.

Prior law authorized eight simulcasting facilities and specified the location of four of them as follows: New Haven, Windsor Locks, Plainfield dog track, and Bridgeport fronton or dog track. The act expands the number of such facilities to 10. It eliminates the Plainfield location (which is closed) and the requirement that the Bridgeport facility be located in the jai alai fronton or dog track (which are closed), thereby allowing the facility to be located anywhere in Bridgeport. It specifies that the other facilities must be located in Bristol, East Haven, Hartford, New Britain, Norwalk, Torrington, and Waterbury. All 10 towns currently have OTB facilities, including six that have simulcasting facilities.

ZONE OF PROTECTION

Prior law prohibited any facility from simulcasting within a zone of protection negotiated between the OTB system operator and another parimutuel facility. The OTB system licensee had to operate simulcasting facilities located at frontons or dog tracks (1) in conjunction with the fronton and dog track licensees and (2) in a substantially similar manner.

Under prior law, any operator planning to simulcast dog racing or jai alai events had to simulcast events being conducted by a Connecticut licensee. The operator could simulcast out-of-state events when no state licensee was conducting them. In either case, the operator had to get the written consent of the state licensee and any other licensee authorized to conduct the same activity within a 40-mile radius.

The act eliminates these zone-of-protection provisions because the OTB system is now owned by one entity (Autotote Enterprises, Inc. ) and the dog track and fronton are closed.

BACKGROUND

The OTB System

By law, the location of any OTB facility must be approved by the Division of Special Revenue (DSR) and the legislative body of the town in which the facility will be located. Currently 10 of the 18 authorized facilities OTB facilities are operating, including six simulcasting facilities. They are located as follows:

1. Windsor Locks (Bradley), *

2. Bristol,*

3. Bridgeport,*

4. East Haven,

5. Hartford,*

6. New Britain,*

7. Norwalk,

8. New Haven*

9. Torrington, and

10. Waterbury.

(*simulcasting facilities)

The OTB system also includes a telephone wagering operation. Autotote Enterprises, Inc. has owned and operated the system since buying it from DSR in 1993.

OLR Tracking: VR: HN: PF: RO