Connecticut Sports Betting Will Not Launch Before the 2021 NFL Season Opener
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images. Pictured: The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford, CT.
Connecticut’s online and retail sportsbooks will not open before the 2021 NFL season opener as federal and state officials continue working toward a fall go-live date.
Casino Retail Books Could Launch First
DraftKings and FanDuel, which are partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes, respectively, are still awaiting federal approval for retail sportsbooks at their individual casinos. The Department of the Interior has until Thursday, Sept. 9 — the same date as the NFL’s season opening game between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — to rule on the tribes’ updated compact that would permit legal retail sports betting.
Assuming federal sign-off by the deadline, retail sportsbooks at the Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun could open by the rest of NFL Week 1 Sunday games in a “best-case scenario,” Mohegan Gaming CEO Ray Pineault told The Action Network. Pineault said state gaming stakeholders could not announce a formal sportsbook opening date at this time.
Connecticut will also open as many as 10 additional retail sportsbooks under the state lottery’s purview later this year, but those too have no firm planned opening day.
Online Awaits State Approval
The two tribal-partnered online sportsbooks — as well as a third, lottery-partnered book — are still awaiting state approval.
A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers in the legislature’s regulatory review committee is set to consider online sports betting regulations at its Aug. 31 meeting. If approved, all three sportsbook operators must still pass state licensing procedures, a process that could take several additional weeks.
Pineault said Connecticut officials may also require each online sportsbook to earn certification from Gaming Laboratories International, an independent gaming services inspection agency. Pineault said this process could take between two and six weeks.
In Connecticut, DraftKings and FanDuel both currently offer daily fantasy sports, which were regulated under the same 2021 legislation that permitted sports betting. The law also permits the lottery’s sports betting partner to offer DFS contests as well.
Connecticut Sports Betting Details
A sportsbook from Rush Street Interactive, which partnered with the Connecticut Lottery for its online and retail sportsbooks, will join DraftKings and FanDuel as the state’s three legal betting options. Rush Street may use its SugarHouse brand instead of the BetRivers name available in most of the company’s other operating markets.
Though Connecticut’s three legal options trail the totals in other Northeastern sports betting markets such as New Jersey (21 live books), it will be more options than all other current New England options combined. Rhode Island (Caesars) and New Hampshire (DraftKings) only offer one book apiece.
Massachusetts lawmakers are considering sports betting legislation that could see legal books launch sometime in 2022. Maine policymakers could reconsider a long-stalled sports betting proposal early next year.
Meanwhile, New York is set to launch its first online sportsbooks early next year. New York will approve a minimum of four customer-facing brands, but it remains to be seen which operators (or how many) will earn licensure.
DraftKings and FanDuel, along with BetMGM and Rhode Island-based Bally Bet, have teamed up for a high-profile license proposal that would see all four launch sportsbooks in the Empire State. BetRivers has teamed up with Caesars, WynnBet, PointsBet and Resorts World for a separate proposal.