Sports Betting Launches: Connecticut, Florida, 2 Other States Take Steps Forward

Sports Betting Launches: Connecticut, Florida, 2 Other States Take Steps Forward article feature image
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Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Westgate Las Vegas Race & Sports SuperBook.

Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana and Maryland took steps toward their respective sports betting launches this week.

Here’s the latest on each:

Connecticut

Online Betting: Oct. 7

Retail Betting: Sometime on or before online

Approved/Likely Sportsbooks: DraftKings, FanDuel, Rush Street Interactive (SugarHouse)

The state’s online sportsbooks will open Oct. 7, state officials confirmed with the Action Network after local media outlets broke the news Thursday afternoon.

Connecticut’s 2021 sports betting law and accompanying tribal gaming compacts will allow three statewide mobile sportsbooks. The Mohegan (FanDuel) and Mashantucket Pequot (DraftKings) tribes can also open iGaming sites.

The state lottery can open an online sportsbook, as well as up to 15 retail books across the state. The Connecticut Lottery is partnered with Rush Street Interactive, which will likely brand its sportsbooks under the SugarHouse name.

Connecticut’s retail sportsbooks are also set to open Oct. 7, though the two tribal books could potentially open earlier if they clear all licensing requirements, Kaitlyn Krasselt, a spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, told the Action Network Friday.

Florida

Online Betting: TBD

Retail Betting: Oct. 15

Approved/Likely Sportsbooks: Hard Rock Sportsbook

Florida’s first retail sportsbooks and lone statewide mobile sportsbook were scheduled to open Oct. 15, but lawsuits could delay or prohibit the online launch.

In federal court documents filed earlier this week, it appears the Seminole Tribe of Florida — which would operate the state’s lone mobile app — will delay the launch until at least Nov. 15, as the court weighs a lawsuit to prevent the go-live date.

The court could grant a temporary restraining order to block the launch at a Nov. 5 hearing, which would prohibit the tribe’s Hard Rock Digital online sportsbook from launching as the legal process continues.

Questions surround the launch process as the lawsuits linger, and it remains unclear when an online go-live date would begin. There appears to be a legal avenue still where the court throws out the motion for the temporary restraining order and the tribe continues with its original Oct. 15 launch, the first date it’s allowed to go live as part of an agreement with the Florida government.

As the online sports betting launch remains uncertain, the state’s first retail sportsbooks appear on track to open Oct. 15. The tribe’s Hard Rock Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood seem likely to take bets that day.

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Louisiana

Online Betting: TBD

Retail Betting: October

Approved/Likely Sportsbooks: Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, Barstool, Boyd Sports, TwinSpires, PointsBet, others

Louisiana officials said earlier this week they were still working toward a retail and online sports betting launch, but could not give a firm timeline for either. State regulators acknowledged Hurricane Ida had delayed the sports betting rollout, but were hopeful at least the first retail books could open by next month.

Louisiana’s 15 riverboat casinos, four horse track “racinos” and lone land-based casino can all open online and retail sportsbooks under a 2021 sports betting law.

The state lottery is also expected to open an online book, as well as retail betting kiosks at certain bars and restaurants, but that process could take months longer than the rollout for the brick-and-mortar gaming facilities.

The retail launch is logistically more simplistic than an online launch, meaning in-person betting is set to begin before mobile wagering. Louisiana is the only state that restricts mobile betting on a parish-by-parish (or county-by-county) level, though online books are set to go live in and around Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport and all the state’s major population centers.

Maryland

Online Betting: TBD

Retail Betting: Fall

Approved/Likely Sportsbooks: BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, Barstool, PointsBet, WynnBet, others

Maryland regulators opened the state’s sportsbook applications this week, a key step toward legal sports betting. Significant regulatory work remains, however, and state gaming officials are still not sure about a launch timeline.

Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law sets aside the state’s six casinos, three major pro sports venues and eight additional gaming facilities for a special subset of licenses. These facilities, most of which are already partnered with some of the aforementioned major operators, will likely take the state’s first retail bets, potentially in the coming weeks or months.

The online launch will likely come some point after the retail opening. As many as 30 additional retail and 60 online sports betting licenses are also available, but these aren’t expected to be awarded for several additional months.

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