Connecticut Sports Betting, iGaming Bill Becomes Law, Licensing Process Begins

  • Connecticut bill HB 6451 became law July 1, legalizing sports betting and iGaming in the state
  • Although the market is live, no sportsbooks have launched yet with licensing now underway
  • The Mohegan Tribe has announced that Kambi will no longer power its sports betting offering
  • DraftKings and FanDuel will still offer DFS, despite HB 6451 forcing other operators to leave
Connecticut flag
Connecticut residents will soon have more gambling options to choose from after the government enacted legislation July 1 legalizing sports betting and online casino. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Lamont’s hard work pays off

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has been campaigning for the introduction of legal sports betting since the beginning of the year. Now, after months of discussion with government officials and tribal organizations, the governor finally has his wish. Connecticut’s regulated sports wagering and iGaming markets began on July 1, allowing the operator license application process to begin.

State lawmakers passed HB 6451 earlier this year. The legislation, signed by Gov. Lamont in May, allows the Mohegan Tribe, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, and the Connecticut Lottery to offer online and retail sports betting. The two federally recognized tribes can also provide online casino and daily fantasy sports (DFS).

The Mashantucket is the only operator to have secured a sports betting partner in DraftKings

Although the market is now live, Connecticut bettors will have to wait a little while longer before they can place their first wagers. The Mashantucket is the only operator to have secured a sports betting partner in DraftKings. Meanwhile, Mohegan has just separated with its initial partner Kambi, while the Connecticut Lottery is still in the process of forming its own agreement.

Mohegan splits with Kambi

In 2019, Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut signed a multi-channel sportsbook deal with gaming supplier Kambi. Through the deal, Kambi agreed to power the casino’s online and retail sportsbooks once the market opened up.

With the door finally open for the Mohegan Sun to introduce sports betting however, that deal has now fallen through. This week, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment (MGE), the gaming corporation owned by the Mohegan Tribe, announced that Kambi will no longer power its sportsbook in the Connecticut casino.

amicable discussions between both parties.”

The two companies have reached a new deal in which Kambi will still receive the revenue share stipulated in the initial five-year deal. Kristian Nylén, Kambi CEO, described the resulting agreement as a “positive conclusion” to “amicable discussions between both parties.”

Meanwhile, MGE is free to collaborate with another company to launch land-based and online sports wagering. Although the operator has not yet announced a new betting partner, it already has a DFS agreement with US sportsbook giant FanDuel. BetMGM has also expressed a desire to enter the Connecticut market in the past. 

A number of operators are also in the running for the Connecticut Lottery’s sports betting skin. The Lottery received five bids after asking sportsbooks to submit binding proposals this year. Through HB 6451, the Lottery can offer online wagering and 15 retail sportsbooks, two of which have to be located in Bridgeport and Hartford.

DFS operators leave market

While the passing of HB 6451 might have opened the door to Connecticut sports wagering, it has also closed off the state to the majority of DFS operators. After the official beginning of the state’s new regulated market on Thursday, only DraftKings and FanDuel have continued to operate fantasy contests. Smaller competitors such as PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy, and Yahoo Fantasy Sports all ceased operations that night in accordance with the new regulations.

Although HB 6451 requires all real-money DFS operators to have licenses, DraftKings and FanDuel can continue operating through partnerships with the states two tribes. According to a release from Governor Ned Lamont on Thursday, both operators have paid fees for their past DFS operations in the state. DraftKings has paid $832,383, while FanDuel provided funds of around $325,915.

the provisional DFS licenses will expire on September 30

Lamont has affirmed that the agreements will allow the state’s DFS market to continue without interruption during the transitionary period. As reported by ESPN, the provisional DFS licenses will expire on September 30. The state has not confirmed whether the process for granting permanent licenses will conclude before this September deadline.

Other DFS operators have voiced criticism regarding their ejection from the market. On Thursday, a spokesperson for Underdog Fantasy apologized to its Connecticut customers in a company statement. It read: “Politics and corporate agendas got in the way of what’s best” for the consumer.