Connecticut Online Sports Betting

After Governor Ned Lamont signed the bill into law in May 2021, sports betting officially became legal in Connecticut. The Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans operate Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, respectively, and have long been a dominant force in both state politics and casino gaming. Both are now able to offer online sports betting in Connecticut, along with the CT Lottery. Online betting officially began in October 2021.

While the long road to legalized sports betting in Connecticut has come to an end, there is still a lot to unpack. Read on for more information about the state’s legislation, the two tribes’ exclusivity agreement, why Sportech is not happy with any of this, what it means for bettors, and which operators are now live in the Nutmeg State.

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Connecticut Sports Betting Legislation

Connecticut has two primary, federally recognized tribes that basically control casino gaming in the state. You’ve probably heard of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun; Foxwoods was at one point the largest casino in the country. It is now #2, followed by Mohegan Sun at #3 based on square feet of gaming space. Yes, they are both larger than every casino in Las Vegas. In case you’re interested, the largest casino in America is the Winstar Casino in Oklahoma, of all places.

Because of their influence in the state, the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans were always going to be given access to the sports betting market. Because of the tribal involvement in the states gaming market, everything had to go through the US Department of the Interior, which caused a small delay to market launch. The other issues were setting up the tax rates, rules, regulations, and more. Everything has been sorted at this time though, and Connecticut sports betting is a “go”.

What’s Included

Both the full House and Senate approved the legislative package in May of 2021, and was quickly signed by Governor Lamont into law. After the Department of the interior rubber stamped the compact, legal betting was able to launch in Connecticut on October 19, 2021. The compact and legislative package includes the following details about the sports betting regulatory structure:

  • Three entities will be entitled to an online “skin” and will be authorized to operate an online sportsbook in the state
    1. Mashantucket Pequot Tribe
    2. Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut
    3. Connecticut Lottery
  • The Lottery is authorized to operate 15 retail betting locations, which can be sublicensed to Sportech, the global company that currently operates Off-Track Betting locations in the state
  • Gross revenue for online sports betting is taxed at 18%; retail is taxed at 13.75%
  • Proceeds from the tax revenue will be used to fund a program that provides tuition-free community college for young people in the state and a fund to aid small municipalities
  • Consumer protections, including a self-exclusion requirement, parameters for advertising, and a list of those who are prohibited from gambling, such as college coaches and athletes

Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes

Since the two tribes are such a big deal in the state, let’s go over their influence on the legislation and how they are benefiting from legalized sports betting in Connecticut.

Foxwoods casino, owned and managed by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, is in eastern Connecticut. It’s closer to Boston than New York City, but is also an easy drive from many of the bedroom communities in the western part of the state. Mohegan Sun casino, owned and managed by the Mohegan tribe, is also in the eastern part of the state, but slightly closer to New York City.

The location of both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun was very relevant back when they originally opened in 1992, because they were two of the only casinos in the entire eastern seaboard outside of Atlantic City. People came from all over to visit and gamble. These days, casinos are far more commonplace and sports betting is even offered in neighboring Rhode Island, and will eventually come to Massachusetts, too. The two massive casino resorts are still popular, but they don’t generate anywhere near the revenue they did back in the 1990s.

Enter CT sports betting

Both the state and the tribes are excited about the possibility of Connecticut online sports betting and the revenue that it generates. The two tribes were instrumental in securing exclusive access to online skins and keeping competitors out. Their plan worked, and now the state tops out with just three online operators (two for the tribes, one for the lottery). While a geographically small state, CT has many eager sports bettors among its 3.5 million residents. A few state legislators argued for additional competition, but the tribal influence won the day.

The tribes have many allies in Connecticut politics and officials with the federal government generally defer to the sovereign nature of the tribes and almost always approve negotiated compacts – CT was no different.

Connecticut Online Sports Betting Sites

Online SportsbookLicense PartnerLaunch Date
DraftKings SportsbookMashantucket Pequot TribeOct. 19, 2021
FanDuel SportsbookMohegan TribeOct. 19, 2021
SugarHouse SportsbookConnecticut LotteryOct. 19, 2021

DraftKings Sportsbook CT – Mashantucket Pequot

The Mashantucket Pequot tribe owns Foxwoods Casino and now has an online sports betting skin through DraftKings. The tribe very quickly agreed to a partnership with the Massachusetts based DFS and sports betting giant.

DraftKings is basically everywhere when it comes to the regulated U.S. market and has established itself as an industry leader. Their sports betting mobile app is a smash hit from Colorado to Virginia, and is now a favorite in Connecticut.

FanDuel Sportsbook CT – Mohegan Tribe

The Mohegans announced in July of 2021 that they had partnered with FanDuel for both sports betting and iGaming when it comes to the state. It was expected that Unibet would get the deal, as they are partnered with the Mohegan Tribe in Pennsylvania, and Mohegan had a deal with Kambi, who provides date for Unibet, but FanDuel came forward with a better offer and, well, money talks.

FanDuel may have been even more motivated to make a deal as the new law states that Daily Fantasy Sports operators now need a license to operate in the state as well. So, the options were lose DFS in the state, or partner up and retain DFS and gain sports betting and casino. FanDuel and DraftKings have continued their rivalry that spans across all three verticals in virtually every legal state in the country.

SugarHouse Sportsbook – Connecticut Lottery

As mentioned, the third entity authorized to operate a mobile betting skin is the Connecticut Lottery. The lottery elected to partner with Rush Street Interactive, the gaming provider behind the SugarHouse and BetRivers brands. It will be the former, SugarHouse, that they put forward in CT. The Lottery is also authorized to open 15 retail establishments throughout the state. These retail locations can be sublicensed to Sportech, a British company that currently operates the OTB locations in the state.

Sportech wanted to be allowed to operate an online betting skin for obvious monetary reasons (online sports betting revenue > retail OTB revenue), but so far they have been shut out aside from the aforementioned 15 new retail betting locations. This displeased company executives who have publicly expressed their displeasure and signaled an intent to sue to be included in the sports betting bonanza. They are likely out of luck, though, because they were never party to the legislative negotiations as they played out. Being authorized to be a sublicensee is likely as much as they are going to get.

Operators left out of Connecticut

Connecticut’s online sports betting market is now capped out with just three available bookmakers. The competition was fierce, but ultimately, for the time being, it’s going to be DraftKings, FanDuel, and SugarHouse leading the CT charge. Other operators who lobbied for entry but ultimately didn’t find a way in include:

Info For Connecticut Sports Bettors

Sports betting has already landed in Connecticut and bettors now optins. What does this mean for you, the Connecticut sports bettor? Let’s break it down.

Three Online Sportsbooks in CT

Three online skins means that DraftKings, FanDuel and SugarHouse will be running the state’s betting market. This is better than a monopoly model like New Hampshire, but is still far from the open, competitive model of New Jersey. More competition is almost always better for bettors, but since negotiations appear to be done, this feels like as good as it’s going to get for bettors in Connecticut.

Launch Date: Oct. 2021

Ultimately Connecticut’s sports betting industry came together a little sooner than expected. The state debuted retail betting on September 30, soft launched its online sites on October 12, and launched in full with online betting on October 19th, 2021.

Where You Can Bet in Connecticut

You can bet from your couch, kitchen table, car, desk, or anywhere else you want. If retail sports betting is more your thing, you can go to one of the 15 new retail sports betting establishments, including venues in Bridgeport and Hartford, that will be constructed. As long as you are in the state of Connecticut you can legally wager online.

CT Online Casino and Lottery

Bettors can also play casino games and even the Connecticut Lottery on their smartphones. The legislation legalizes casino games and lottery games along with sports betting.

Connecticut Betting Markets + Sports

In betting terms, a market is a type of wager available to bet on. If the Red Sox are playing the Orioles in baseball, for example, one market would be a spread bet while another would be the over/under. Market is a common term used to describe different types of bets. Sportsbooks offer dozens of different markets on every game, from prime-time NFL games to a regular Tuesday night Red Sox-Orioles game. The number of markets available has grown exponentially as sportsbooks compete to attract new customers by expanding their offerings.

Connecticut bettors have access to all of the following bets.

  • Spread
  • Moneyline
  • Over/Under
  • Prop bets
  • Futures
  • Parlay
  • Round Robin
  • Teaser
  • In-game bets

Available Sports  

Connecticut bettors are able to bet on a wide variety of sports. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Australian Rules Football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball – NBA, NCAA and Overseas leagues
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Cycling
  • Darts
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Handball
  • Hockey – NHL and European leagues
  • MMA
  • Motorsports
  • Rugby
  • Snooker
  • Soccer
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis

Connecticut Gambling History

The history of gambling in Connecticut starts in 1971, when horse racing and off-track betting were legalized. Jai Alai and greyhound racing were added the following year, and retail gambling locations opened in 1976. There used to be several Jai Alai facilities in the state, but the last fronton closed down in 2001.

The recent history of gambling in the Nutmeg State began in 1986 when high stakes bingo games offered by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes became popular. This led to expanded casino games being offered by the tribes after their enormous casinos opened in 1992. Since then, millions have flocked to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun for casino gaming and entertainment. Though there are many more casinos and gaming options in the Eastern states than there were in 1992, the two tribal casinos remain the only retail casinos in Connecticut and two of the largest casinos in the entire country.

FAQ

Is sports betting legal in CT?

In short, Yes! The CT online sports betting industry officially started on October 19, 2021.

Can I bet sports online in Connecticut?

Yes! There are three entities authorized to offer mobile betting: the two tribes in the state and the Connecticut Lottery. There are three options for online betting: DraftKings, FanDuel, and SugarHouse.

Are online casino games legal in CT?

Yes they are. Both DraftKings and FanDuel now offer online casinos in the state of Connecticut.

Why is it better to bet with a legal sportsbook?

Great question. Many people in Connecticut are already betting on sports using a neighborhood bookie or an offshore sportsbook. Would it be advantageous for them to switch to a legal, regulated sportsbook? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes because legal, regulated sportsbooks are licensed in the states in which they operate. This regulation covers many areas, but perhaps the most important being that all deposits, withdrawals, and bet payouts are guaranteed. Your cash is secure.

Put simply, your money is safe in a regulated sportsbook and you are able to withdraw it at any time, pending operator approval. Are customer deposits safe and secure at an offshore sportsbook or with a neighborhood bookie? One can hope, but there is no certainty that you will be able to withdraw your money in a timely manner. Using a regulated sportsbook is your best bet (pun intended).

Do Connecticut sportsbooks offer new player bonuses?

Of course they do! Virtually all sportsbooks offer a valuable new player sign up bonus. Even though there are just three online bookmakers available in the state, they still need to compete for your business through enticing offers and promotions. Check out our list of the best available offers further up the page.

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If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN).