Connecticut Sports Betting Final Operator Announced By Lottery
Carmen Mandato / Getty Images. Pictured: Paige Bueckers
Rush Street Interactive will open mobile and retail sportsbooks in Connecticut by as early as next month, state lottery officials announced Thursday.
The Connecticut Lottery selected RSI from a handful of leading operators for the state’s third and final sports betting license. DraftKings and FanDuel had previously secured market access through partnerships with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes, respectively.
By law, the lottery was not allowed to consider sportsbooks directly affiliated with existing brick-and-mortar casinos such as Caesars, BetMGM and WynnBet. Officials have not announced if Connecticut’s Rush Street books will be under the company’s BetRivers or SugarHouse brand.
Rush Street Interactive and the lottery have struck deals with 10 retail sports betting locations will be able to open as many as 15 retail sportsbooks in the state, though there is no timeline or threshold the operator must cross. Connecticut’s 2021 sports betting law required at least one book open in Hartford and Bridgeport.
Many of the retail sportsbooks are partnerships with off-track betting operator Sportech. Lottery officials Thursday said Hartford’s XL Center, which hosts University of Connecticut athletic events, is also being considered for a sportsbook location.
Unlike DraftKings and FanDuel, Rush Street Interactive cannot open an online casino. All three companies can offer daily fantasy contests. No other operator can legally accept DFS players in the state.
Lottery officials have targeted an early fall online sports betting launch, potentially before the 2021 NFL season opener Sept. 9. Rush Street’s sportsbook must still pass state regulations, licensing and other tests before it can go live, a process that can take several weeks.
Lawmakers must also finalize sports betting rules before wagering can begin. The General Assembly’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee could approve these rules at its scheduled Aug. 31 meeting, but sports betting regulations were not on its agenda as of Thursday morning.
Connecticut sportsbooks cannot launch until lawmakers approve these rules. If the committee doesn’t take up regulations this month, it means wagering could be delayed until October.
Meanwhile, DraftKings and FanDuel are awaiting federal approval to go live. The federal Department of the Interior is set to rule on the two partner tribes’ gaming compacts, including the sports betting provisions, by Sept. 10, or one day after the NFL season begins.
The tribes’ retail sportsbooks at the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort, respectively, are governed by federal regulations and could open as soon as they earn the Interior Department’s approval. The online sportsbooks are regulated by the state and must await lawmakers’ sign-off on the rules as well as regulatory and licensing approval.
Connecticut’s three-party sports betting market took shape Thursday as state officials and gaming interests gear up for a fall 2021 launch. However, work remains and there is no firm go-live date for any of the three legal sportsbooks.