Last updated: June 16, 2021
Sports betting could soon launch in Connecticut.
CT legislators approved in 2021 a new gaming compact between the two gaming tribes and the state. The compact still must receive federal approval and is being reviewed by the Department of the Interior at this time.
Once launched, sports betting in CT could capture a significant portion of the tri-state area market, as many New York City commuters live in Connecticut. Arizona will feature mobile sports wagering from anywhere within the physical borders of the state.
What’s happening in CT sports betting right now
- June 11, 2021 — The bidding period for the final Connecticut online sports betting skin ended, leaving the Connecticut Lottery with a big decision to make. Four sportsbooks were told to submit binding proposals. The lottery is expected to pick a winner by June 28.
- May 27, 2021 — Gov. Ned Lamont signs HB6451 into law and sets the stage for full-scale iGaming in CT, including sports betting. The three licensees in the state will be the two federally recognized Native American tribes and the Connecticut Lottery. The law will now have to gain approval from the US Department of the Interior regarding the adjustments to the compacts.
- May 25, 2021 — HB6451 passes through the Connecticut Senate a week after its approval in the House. The bill, if it becomes law, authorizes Lamont to renegotiate the state’s compacts with the two tribes — the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan
- May 13, 2021 — The Connecticut Lottery announces that it has asked four sportsbook companies to respond to its RFP to find an online sports betting partner. With both tribal licensees already committed to partners, this opportunity represents the last chance for other providers to gain entrance into the Connecticut market. The process has already reduced the potential number of applicants from 15 to four.
- March 18, 2021 — Gov. Ned Lamont comes to an agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot that lays out the plan for including the Foxwoods owners into Connecticut sports betting plans. Lamont reached an agreement with the Mohegan Tribe two weeks prior.
- Feb. 11, 2021 — Lamont acknowledges that iGaming, including sports betting, is imminent in Connecticut by including an expanded forecast for gaming revenue in his 2021 budget proposal. Lamont also files a bill to expand the tribal compacts with the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan to include sports betting and online casino gambling. This bill eventually becomes HB6451.
- Jan. 14, 2021 — Connecticut lawmakers file a bill that would authorize the two powerful tribal entities in the Nutmeg State to offer sports betting and online casino gambling. One striking element about the filing of SB146 is that it, along with Lamont’s comments about iGaming in his State of the State address, is a clear signal that the legalization of a wide array of iGaming is in the works for Connecticut.
- March 5, 2020 — Gov. Ned Lamont makes his position on sports betting clear by doubling down on his advocacy for a simple sports betting agreement. At the time, there are two sports betting bills active in the Connecticut legislature, including one from State Sen. Cathy Osten that also authorizes online casino gaming. However, without the involvement of the tribes, there is a sense that lawmakers are just spinning their wheels.
Is sports betting legal in Connecticut?
Yes, but it is not available just yet. Sports betting could launch in Connecticut as soon as later this year. The state’s two gaming tribes reached an agreement with the government of Connecticut in 2021 to include legal sports betting in CT within a larger deal on casino offerings and tribal exclusivity.
Once sports betting in Connecticut receives its final approvals, wagering will be legal both via mobile apps and in-person at physical sportsbooks. The state lottery also will offer a mobile sports betting app in CT.
The status of sports betting in Connecticut
CT sports betting is pending launch following a deal on a new tribal gaming compact that is on its way to the federal government for review.
Sports betting in the state of Connecticut will involve the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Indians. The tribes control gaming in the state and will operate two of the three mobile platforms available.
The third mobile platform will be operated via the Connecticut Lottery. Officials with the lottery are conducting an RFP process to select a partner to operate their mobile sports wagering skin. The process should be finalized by June 28.
Gov. Ned Lamont‘s spokesman Max Reiss told the Hartford Courant he wanted competition in the state prior to agreeing to a deal with gaming tribes:
“Any such proposal … must be designed to avoid and withstand endless legal challenges, include multiple, competing mobile platforms off the tribes’ reservations, and build upon the existing footprints of all of the state’s existing gaming operators,” Reiss said.
When will online sports betting launch in Connecticut?
Mobile sports betting might launch in Connecticut as soon as fall 2021.
As is the case in most states that legalize sports betting, CT officials understand the importance of launching the industry as close to the beginning of football season as possible. NFL betting dominates the wagering calendar every year and Connecticut borders football-crazed New York and Massachusetts.
With that in mind, Connecticut will attempt to expedite its rulemaking and regulatory processes to start as quickly as possible once the federal government signs off.
Online sportsbooks in Connecticut
Bettors will have multiple options for selecting an online sportsbook in CT.
The identity of at least one sportsbook in Connecticut is known: DraftKings Sportsbook. The Mashantucket Pequot, who operate Foxwoods Resort and Casino, partnered with DraftKings to facilitate their retail and mobile sports betting products.
The Mohegan Tribe signed on with provider Kambi. That means Kambi will power the trading behind the sportsbook product, but the actual brand remains to be seen.
The third online sportsbook in Connecticut will emerge from the RFP process conducted by the state lottery. At least 15 different sportsbooks applied for that mobile sports betting skin, though the lottery did not reveal the identities of any of the applicants.
Connecticut sports betting bills
HB 6451: The enabling bill for the new tribal compacts agreed to by the state government and gaming tribes
Two bills introduced in the state Senate to facilitate the legalization of CT sports betting died in committee:
Legislation intended to create online sportsbooks in CT included the following bills:
CT sports betting law
The bill passed by state legislators ratified the details of the new gaming compact between tribes and the state:
- Sports betting revenue receives a tax rate of 13.75%.
- Sports betting licenses are good for 10 years.
- Three online brands were authorized. DraftKings Sportsbook is partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot and Kambi partnered with the Mohegan. The CT Lottery also receives a skin and will pick a partner for itself.
- Along with its online skin, the Lottery can operate 15 retail sportsbooks. Two must be located in Bridgeport and Hartford. The Lottery can outsource some of those operations to Sportech, the state’s OTB operator.
Legal sports betting basics in Connecticut
Connecticut has several forms of legal gambling outside of sports betting.
The state’s two tribal casinos generate billions of dollars in annual revenue from table games, slots and bingo. They’re owned by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, who are planning to build a third casino near East Windsor. Connecticut also has a significant pari-mutuel wagering industry (including off-track horse betting) and a state lottery.
In 2017, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the gaming expansion that granted permission for the East Windsor casino. It was accompanied by a “sweetener bill” which included (1) a new advisory council for large entertainment venues, (2) an expansion to the state’s OTBs, and (3) the direction to establish sports betting regulations if federal hurdles are removed.
Here’s what the law says:
The Commissioner of Consumer Protection shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, to regulate wagering on sporting events to the extent permitted by state and federal law.
Regulators in Connecticut weren’t quite ready to move forward, though. The Department of Consumer Protection asked the legislature for more guidance, spawning a series of investigative hearings on the topic.
In the time since passage, lawmakers have become educated about the sports betting industry as they’ve looked to shape the Division’s framework. Lobbyists from the NBA and MLB have testified in support of CT sports betting, provided the regulations include integrity fees paid directly to them.
Latest Connecticut sports betting news
Legal betting options in Connecticut
Right now, there are no legal betting options in Connecticut but that could change soon.
There are websites that claim they can accept sports bets from within Connecticut as well as the rest of the United States. But these websites aren’t licensed at the state level, meaning there are when betting with them.
An offshore operator might decide to not pay out a winning bet. Or, if the operations are shut down by a government or any other reason, they have no legal requirement to US citizens to pay out their account balances.
Popular sports to bet on in Connecticut
Connecticut is technically in New England, but it also borders the state of New York. That leaves allegiance across the state to some very popular NFL teams.
The New England Patriots have been popular bets during the Tom Brady era, but that could all change with Cam Newton at quarterback.
Meanwhile, the New York Giants and New York Jets haven’t been great teams the past few years but still have loyal fans all throughout the region.
Basketball could also be a betting favorite in Connecticut. That’s especially true if betting is allowed on in-state college teams.
The University of Connecticut Huskies men’s basketball team is usually in the running for a spot in March Madness. The women’s team, of course, is one of the best women’s basketball programs in the country.
Baseball splits right down the middle in Connecticut between New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox fans.
Connecticut and daily fantasy sports
It is perfectly legal to enter daily fantasy sports contests in Connecticut but their availability could be under fire because of the 2021 gaming bill.
The contests were legalized and regulated when Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a budget bill into law in October 2017. Popular operators like DraftKings and FanDuel operate in the state.
However, there is serious concern that DFS players in Connecticut could be without legal options until operators can reach agreement with gaming tribes, who now control fantasy sports. Discussions to solve the situation are ongoing.
Is horse racing legal in Connecticut?
Horse racing is legal in Connecticut, though there are currently no tracks that run races.
Betting on horse racing is legal at off-track betting facilities available around the state.
Bettors can also wager on horse racing online through advance deposit wagering sites like BetAmerica, TVG and TwinSpires. Off-track betting facilities potentially could offer sports betting in CT under the terms of the new gaming agreement.
Connecticut sports betting timeline
2021: An all-encompassing agreement between the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, and the state government finally came to fruition. Gov. Ned Lamont signed a new tribal gaming compact with the tribes, which was followed shortly after by ratification by the state legislature.
The compact is under review by federal officials. This is standard procedure for all tribal gaming agreements.
2020: Two sports betting packages – H 5168 and S 21 – were submitted early in the legislature but ultimately failed to progress after multiple hearings.
H 5168 lets the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Indians as well as the off-track betting operators run sportsbooks. S 21, meanwhile, was all about the tribes. Along with sports betting the bill would have given them online gaming and permission for a Bridgeport casino.
2019: Sports betting was not included in a special session the legislature held in the fall.
2018: In March, the Public Safety and Security Committee held an exploratory hearing on sports betting. Lawyers from the NBA and MLB attended to pitch their list of wants, including the ability to restrict wagers and the right to collect an integrity fee.
Lawmakers pushed back on the integrity fee, which the NBA lawyer referred to as a “royalty fee.” The leagues argue that the strength of their brand and the need to bolster their monitoring tools necessitate inclusion in the revenue from sports betting. They asked for 1% of all money wagered, which could amount to a lot of money.
Foxwoods Resort Casino later submitted testimony saying it favors legalization.
2017: Public Act 17-209 is the original law that moves to regulate sports betting in Connecticut. The Act directed the DCP to expand their oversight to the new industry to the extent permitted by state and federal law.
Shortly after passage, the Department indicated that it was aware of its new responsibilities:
DCP is tasked with adopting regulations to regulate wagering on sporting events to the extent permitted by state and federal law. The Department is also aware of the New Jersey case that the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up and will continue to monitor federal activity surrounding sports betting.
The DCP subsequently asked for more guidance in establishing the regulatory framework for Connecticut sports betting.
Connecticut sports betting FAQ
Who would oversee Connecticut sports betting?
The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) oversees the state’s current gambling activity, including sports betting. The state lottery also will oversee some facets of sports betting in Connecticut, as it will have oversight of its own product.
Where can I bet on sports in Connecticut?
Nowhere currently but that should change in 2021.. Regulators and lawmakers signed off on sports betting in CT that will allow mobile wagers to be placed via smartphones from anywhere within the physical borders of Connecticut.
Who can apply for a Connecticut sports betting license?
There is no application process to offer sports betting in Connecticut beyond the one nearing completion via the state lottery. The state’s two gaming tribes already reached agreements with DraftKings Sportsbook and Kambi, respectively.
Who will be able to bet on sports in Connecticut?
The legal gambling age is 21 for casino gaming and 18 for pari-mutuel wagering.
Will mobile sports betting be available in Connecticut?
Yes, it will be available. Mobile sports wagering in CT is explicitly spelled out in the gaming bills that ratified tribal compacts between Lamont and the tribes. You will not need to be a Connecticut resident to bet at CT sportsbooks.