"I think there is a level of misunderstanding about online gambling and its prospects in the state of Connecticut," Malloy said Monday during a brief press conference at the Legislative Office Building.
Malloy's remarks, which came at the end of a press conference about storm preparedness, were in response to a U.S. Department of Justice ruling made public last month.
Malloy welcomes the ruling, which eases the way for online lottery sales and online gambling.
But, he notes, Internet gambling is coming, regardless of what he does. The state of New Jersey is already drafting legislation to usher in online gaming. Other states are expected to follow.
"We're going to have Internet gambling in Massachusetts, in Connecticut, in Rhode Island, in California, in Nevada and Mississippi and Alabama and I could go through all 50 states because the Internet is the Internet. You don't turn off the Internet at any state's borders," Malloy said.
"If it's allowed in any state, it will appear in every state,'' he added.
Malloy noted the irony of his being pegged as an online gambling proponent. He said he lost the backing of some Democrats from Bridgeport because of his stance on a casino in that city in the mid-1990s.
"I'm not bringing under any circumstances online gaming to Connecticut,'' he added. "It's a national decision that has largely already been made.''
Congress has show no inclination to stop the Justice Department ruling, Malloy said.
"Once it happens it's universally available in the United States and we have to decide what to do about it. ... Try and shut down AOL, try and shut down any service. You can't do it."
Later Monday, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney took issue with Malloy's assertion that online gambling is inevitable in Connecticut.
McKinney said Congress could step in and prevent that. "We are talking about a legal opinion from an attorney in the Department of Justice,'' he said. "Certainly Congress could say were going to change our laws and make sure that's not happening. I would encourage our members of Congress to do that.''
But even if Congress doesn't act and other states begin offering online gambling options, that doesn't mean Connecticut can't regulate it, McKinney said. "It's our job to stand up for the health and safety of our citizens. We can take a position,'' he said.
McKinney is directing his legal staff to research what options that state to regulate the online gambling offerings of other states. He said he expects the Malloy administration to put together a bill legalizing online gambling in Connecticut for the upcoming legislative session and "I'm going to be looking at ways we can stop it.''