UConn seeks $100M bonding for Gampel Pavilion upgrade amid push for betting on collegiate teams

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The University of Connecticut is seeking to leverage its basketball triumphs into legislative support, with a plea for $100 million in bonding to enhance the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, the campus venue for its men’s and women’s basketball teams. The move comes as lawmakers also eye changing sports betting laws so residents can wager on state collegiate teams.  

This initiative is part of UConn’s broader ambition to secure an additional $650 million in bonding over the ensuing five years, predominantly directed towards advancing campus infrastructure, NBC Connecticut reported. Both sides of the aisle in the legislature have signaled their endorsement of the proposal.

Included in the plan are endeavors to erect a new life sciences facility and undertake renovations to modernize existing structures. The $100 million allocation for Gampel Pavilion roughly parallels the $107 million in bonding that lawmakers previously greenlit for upgrades to Hartford’s XL Center. This allocation rekindles discussions surrounding where UConn should play its home games.

Lawmakers are also contemplating revisions to state legislation to permit wagering on UConn and other Connecticut collegiate teams. Presently, state law prohibits betting on local college teams, with certain exemptions for select promotions tied to tournament outcomes. A comprehensive bill on sports betting legislation proposes allowing bets on game results for these teams, though not on individual player statistics, commonly referred to as proposition bets or “props.”

While UConn adopts a neutral stance on the proposed bill, the Connecticut State College and University system is undertaking a thorough review of its potential ramifications.

However, some stakeholders oppose the proposed changes. “Gov. Ned Lamont is one of the UConn Huskies’ biggest fans but he agrees with Connecticut’s Higher Education leaders that residents here should not be able to bet on UConn games,” Julia Bergman, a spokeswoman for the governor, said, as per the report.  

Meanwhile, the NCAA is urging states with legalized sports betting to prohibit college proposition bets following a series of notable incidents. In February, the NCAA levied a 15-year show-cause penalty, effectively banning former University of Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon, due to his role in a betting scandal.

Subsequently, in March, a gambling oversight entity raised concerns about suspicious activities surrounding Temple University men’s basketball games, prompting action from sportsbooks.

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