Connecticut Sports Betting, iGaming Gain Federal Approval With Launch Expected in October

  • The DOI okayed the tribal compacts on Thursday, paving the way for betting and iGaming
  • Despite getting approval in time for the NFL kickoff, betting won’t happen until October
  • Officials must still approve licenses for operators and key employees before launch
  • The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes and Connecticut Lottery will all offer sports betting
Connecticut and US flags
Connecticut residents could have access to sports betting and iGaming as soon as October after the DOI approved updated tribal gaming compacts. [Image:]

The last piece of the puzzle

The state of Connecticut officially legalized sports betting and iGaming in May when Governor Ned Lamont signed HB 6451 into law. Now, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) has paved the way for a launch to finally happen by approving amended tribal gaming compacts.

received the green light from the DOI on Thursday

The governor signed off on the second of two new sports betting and iGaming agreements with the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in March. According to an announcement by Lamont, these deals received the green light from the DOI on Thursday this week.

Although sports betting and online gaming now have the federal go-ahead, there are still a number of steps that officials must go through to get Connecticut’s market up and running. As reported by The Associated Press, Lamont is hopeful for the new market to go live in October at the earliest.

An unexpected approval

Earlier this month, a legislative committee in Connecticut approved emergency regulations for sports betting in an effort to get the market up and running in time for the beginning of the NFL season. Speaking earlier this week, however, Gov. Lamont expressed doubt that the compacts would gain approval in time.

Despite the governor’s uncertainty, the deals did receive the federal green light just prior to kickoff on Thursday. It prompted the governor to share news of the “critical step” on Twitter later that day:

Although the DOI has okayed the compacts, Connecticut joins states such as Florida, Louisiana, and Maryland in just missing out on launching by the start of the NFL season. This is because officials still have to approve licenses for operators and key employees before the market can go live.

Added to this, the state’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) must approve all of the suppliers and vendors used by sports betting operators in the state. Sportsbooks must also go through a seven-day soft-launch period, during which the DCP will monitor activity to ensure there are no issues.

What’s in store for Connecticut?

In signing HB 6451 earlier this year, Gov. Lamont gave permission for the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation to offer online and retail betting, online casino, and daily fantasy sports (DFS). The operators will pay a tax of 18% on iGaming for five years, then 20% for the next five. Meanwhile, sports betting and DFS will face a tax of 13.75%.

The tribal compacts last for ten years with the option of a five-year extension at the end of that period. After agreeing to the first of those deals in March, Gov. Lamont spoke of the potential for “tens of millions of dollars in new revenue” for Connecticut as a result.

Notably, the legislation does not give the tribes a monopoly over the market. The Connecticut Lottery can also operate 15 retail sports betting locations, in addition to one online wagering skin. Added to this, the lottery will develop and run two new sports betting venues in Hartford and Bridgeport.

For online sports betting, the Connecticut Lottery has partnered with BetRivers. Meanwhile, the Mohegan Tribe has teamed up with DraftKings for its Mohegan Sun Casino, and the Mashantucket has formed an agreement with FanDuel for its Foxwoods Resort Casino. All of the operators have said they hope to open on the same day the market goes live.

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