Connecticut Sports Betting Begins to Take Shape With Online ‘Soft Launch’
Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images. Pictured: Jonquel Jones
A limited number of Connecticut sports bettors can start testing out the state’s three mobile sportsbooks one week before an official mobile launch.
DraftKings, FanDuel and Rush Street Interactive’s PlaySugarHouse each started allowing up to 750 preregistered customers to place bets at 3 p.m. local time Tuesday. Bettors can wager for limited hours beginning Tuesday as part of a “soft launch” before the official go-live date Oct. 19, Connecticut regulators and said in a statement.
After limiting hours from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. local time Tuesday and Wednesday, sports betting hours during the soft launch period will extend to 12 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Beginning Saturday, the early registrants will have 24-hour access.
Assuming regulators give final approval next week as expected, eligible bettors age 21 and up physically located within state lines can start placing bets. The three sportsbooks are allowed to accept wagers on thousands of college and professional sporting events but cannot take bets on in-state NCAA programs including the University of Connecticut.
“We appreciate the hard work of our licensees and their teams, as well as the team at (Department of Consumer Protection), for their diligence in ensuring these platforms are compliant with the regulations approved by the legislature,” said Michelle H. Seagull, Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection agency that will regulate sports betting, in a statement Friday.
“As long as no issues arise, we have told the licensees they may move forward with the seven-day soft launch required in the regulations. Once the soft launch is complete, online gaming will open statewide.”
Connecticut Sports Betting Structure
PlaySugarHouse will square off against FanDuel and DraftKings in Connecticut, the nation’s two highest-grossing online sportsbook operators. Only these three companies can legally offer statewide mobile sports betting.
“We are thrilled to begin the much-anticipated launch of the PlaySugarHouse online sportsbook with the Connecticut Lottery and bring our award-winning product to players in Connecticut,” said Richard Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer of Rush Street Interactive, in a press release.
“We are confident that with our huge volume of betting content, wide range of deposit and withdrawal methods, real-time cash-out approvals, and best-in-class customer service, Connecticut players will come to prefer PlaySugarHouse when wagering on their favorite sports.”
Through its partnership with the state lottery, Rush Street can also open up to 15 retail sportsbooks. Ten locations have already been announced:
- Bobby V’s locations in Stamford and Windsor Locks
- Sports Haven in New Haven
- Winners locations in Hartford, Manchester, Waterbury, Torrington, New Britain, Milford, and Norwalk
Lottery officials have also considered a retail book at Hartford’s XL Center, though no deal has been finalized. If approved, it would be one of the nation’s first in-stadium sportsbooks and the first at a team sports venue without a full-time NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL tenant.
All lottery-partnered retail books are subject to final regulatory approvals. There is still no publicly announced opening timeline.
The DraftKings retail sportsbook at Foxwoods Resort and FanDuel retail sportsbook at Mohegan Sun Casino opened late last month. The two brick-and-mortar books, partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, respectively, were able to open under separate federal law regulating betting on tribal lands.
The two tribes, and their respective operating partners, can also offer statewide mobile iCasino gaming including slots, table games and poker. Both DraftKings and FanDuel can already offer daily fantasy sports contests as well.