Connecticut Sports Betting Launch for Mobile Sportsbooks Delayed
Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jonquel Jones #35 of the Connecticut Sun.
Connecticut’s sports betting launch was held up by a federal government delay, Kaitlyn Krasselt, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), said Tuesday. The DCP was waiting for the federal government to publish a memorandum of understanding in the Federal Registrar, which didn’t come until Sept. 27.
After federal clearance, each of the state’s three legal online sportsbooks must still pass state-level certification, a process that takes several weeks. Krasselt said the DCP couldn’t give a formal launch timeline but did not expect a lengthy delay beyond the initial Oct. 7 target date.
The original date would have permitted mobile betting ahead of every game of Week 5 of the NFL season. Now it remains to be seen if Connecticut sports bettors can wager on this upcoming Sunday’s games or if the delay will continue into Week 6 or beyond.
World Sports Network first broke the news Monday.
Connecticut Sports Betting Background
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes announced a revised gaming compact earlier this year that opened the door for online and retail sports betting. The compact as well as accompanying regulation permitted the two tribes as well as the Connecticut Lottery to open statewide mobile sportsbooks.
The compacts allowed the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to open sportsbooks at Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun, respectively, after federal approval. The two retail books opened Sept. 30.
By law, online sports betting was subject to a separate regulatory process. Though Connecticut regulators have been working with DraftKings (partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot) and FanDuel (Mohegan) for months in advance of the final legislative approvals, state officials were still waiting for the Sept. 27 publication of a formal memorandum of understanding to begin the final sign-off process.
The mobile sportsbook testing and certification review is underway for the two tribal online sportsbook operating partners. The lottery’s partner, Rush Street Interactive, is undergoing the same process and is positioned to launch in conjunction with the other two books.
Once live, eligible Connecticut bettors age 21 and up can register, deposit and wager from within state lines without having to register in person at a brick-and-mortar gaming facility. Bettors can not wager on individual games for in-state college programs such UConn or Yale.
The Mohegan Sun has also suspended betting on the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, which the tribe owns.
Connecticut Gaming Market
Both FanDuel and DraftKings can offer statewide mobile iCasino gaming, including table games, poker and slots. Rush Street, which is expected to use its PlaySugarHouse brand for sports betting, will not be able to offer online casino.
Rush Street can open up to 15 retail sportsbooks across the state, many of which are expected to be at existing off-track betting facilities. The lottery is also in talks with Hartford’s XL Center for a potential in-stadium sportsbook, which would be one of the first in-arena betting facilities in the country and the first in a sports venue without a full-time tenant from a major professional sports league.
Connecticut is still positioned to be the first New England state with multiple legal mobile sportsbooks. Rhode Island has only one mobile option while DraftKings has a de facto monopoly in New Hampshire.
A much-discussed Massachusetts sports betting bill has stalled in the Senate after easily clearing the House. Meanwhile, Maine’s sports betting efforts are in their own legislative limbo and likely won’t be finalized until at least next year.