Mohegan – The operator of Mohegan Sun, the Mohegan Tribe, on Thursday offered its support for early legislation that would authorize a study of the prevalence of problem gambling in the state, a renewed concern since the legalization of sports betting and gambling. online casino games last year.

James Gessner Jr., the tribe’s chairman, addressed the issue in a letter Thursday to co-chairs and senior members of the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee, which hosted a Jan. 24 forum on the games . During the session, Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling executive director Diana Goode said calls to the council’s hotline had quadrupled since online sports betting and casino gambling became available in October.

Testimony during the forum suggested that data related to problem gambling in the state was largely unavailable.

“To that end, I am writing today to express our support for legislation that would authorize a gambling prevalence study for our state,” Gessner wrote in his letter. “Accurate accounting and a common data source for these numbers will be another useful tool for the State and Tribe in our ongoing efforts to address gambling issues. If this study is undertaken, I will ask Tribal and Mohegan staff Gaming Entertainment to provide all appropriate and authorized information to ensure the state’s work is accurate and knowledgeable.

State Senator Cathy Osten, the Democrat from Sprague who co-chairs the Public Safety Committee with Rep. Maria Horn, a Democrat from Salisbury, said at the forum that the committee would likely consider a bill calling for a study on gambling. No state-mandated study of the impacts of gambling on Connecticut residents has been completed since 2009.

Gessner wrote that since Mohegan Sun opened, the Mohegans have provided over $8 million to support those with gambling problems and addressed the problem itself through numerous initiatives.

“Furthermore,” he wrote, “we are keenly aware of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had not only on physical health, but also on public health. Just as the Mohegan Tribe has proudly used our resources to help Connecticut fight COVID – distributing PPE (personal protective equipment) and hosting large-scale testing and vaccination sites – so too must we play a part. in supporting efforts to address the mental health needs of Connecticut Residents as it intersects with our gaming operations.”

Members of the Public Safety Committee are Sen. Dan Champagne, a Republican from Vernon, and Rep. Greg Howard, a Republican from Stonington.

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