The Journey to Fully Legalizing Sports Betting in Connecticut
In 2017, Connecticut passed Bill H 6948. This authorized a new casino in the state and also opened the world of sports betting. Connecticut had banned sports betting until this point, but this new bill moved the state towards a future of regulation. Then-Governor Dannel Malloy signed it into law in July 2017.
The interesting thing about this bill is that it did not legalize sports betting in CT then and there. The 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, was still in place, though the state of New Jersey was challenging it in the US Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court overruled PASPA in May 2018, this allowed states across the US to make their own sports betting laws.
However, things are not so simple in Connecticut. Much of the population enjoys sports betting, but the state’s two tribes: the Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians must sanction any new forms of gambling. Due to state/tribe frictions, there have been some setbacks in making online gambling legal in CT.
In 2021, Senator Catherine Osten introduced and sponsored SB 21 to try to refocus the arguments. This will legalize, amongst other things, sports betting through online sites and brick-and-mortar locations on Indian lands. Lawmakers are currently drafting up the bill in full and it is likely to be a few months before they place it before committees or the Senate or House for debate. You will be able to follow the bill’s progress on this page.
The Path to Legalizing Online Casinos in Connecticut
Legal online gambling in Connecticut is on the move. The state’s tribes have requested permission to launch their online gambling sites. They currently own the only two casinos in the state, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, and the state has granted permission for them to open a third location as a joint venture.
Thanks to these tribes, players already have an idea about what an online casino in CT might look like. Both tribes operate free-to-play online casinos for their brick-and-mortar brands. Though they do not offer real money gambling, they still give players a fantastic gaming experience that shows exactly what an online casino might look like in Connecticut. Gambling legislation will be in their favor, if any comes to pass. Bill SB 21 will be key in this as it contains clauses that will allow these tribes to set up online gambling through their existing brands.
In the meantime, some sites might claim to offer online play to players in CT and other US residents, but they aren’t safe as the state government does not regulate them. They might withhold funds or sell your sensitive data. If you live in Connecticut, you should hold out until legislators approve regulations for legal online casinos.
With many changes to the law underway, you will be able to keep up to date by following all the updates on this page.
Online Poker is Illegal in Connecticut
So, if Connecticut heavily regulates online gambling, does it also restrict online poker? Many people know CT to be one of the best states on the East Coast for a game of poker. Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun draw large crowds for their tournaments and even the World Poker Tour has stopped by for preliminary games and the World Poker Finals.
The state wants to push its players towards playing at these land-based locations, which is why they have restricted online poker tournaments. While many states only target the providers, the state of Connecticut also targets players. The Transmission of Gambling Information Statute makes it illegal for players to engage in gambling through a variety of means including the internet. This means that the state explicitly prohibits online poker, and anyone caught breaking this law faces a Class A Misdemeanor.
As with online casinos, some sites with live poker rooms claim to offer places for US customers. Anyone tempted needs to remember that these sites are not safe to use, and they could face a Class A Misdemeanor if law enforcement catches them. SB 21 might have provisions for online poker through the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun brands. Keep your eye on this page for any updates regarding the new legislation towards online poker in Connecticut.
The Top Daily Fantasy Sports Sites in Connecticut
Following then-Governor Malloy passing a budget bill with fantasy sport clauses in October 2017, daily fantasy sports have been legal in the state of Connecticut. Sign up to one of our favorite fantasy sports providers here.
Connecticut Doesn’t Prohibit Access to Daily Fantasy Sports Sites
With daily fantasy sports taking off in the states surrounding Connecticut, many people expected lawmakers to quickly introduce gambling in this way. Following Malloy’s legislation in October 2017, fantasy sports operators have been able to offer their products here. While the state of Connecticut needs approval from the tribes, some other states would only require the passing of the legislation to make this legal.
FanDuel, one of the most popular daily fantasy sports providers, has a relationship with Mohegan Sun and has even run some fantasy sports events with them before. Until they reach an agreement, we might not be able to play DFS at brick-and-mortar locations. However, many of the major providers offer their services online. You can legally play fantasy sports online with DraftKings, FanDuel, and many of the other top providers in Connecticut. Once the state fully legalizes online sports betting, we might see these providers amongst the first to offer their sportsbooks to residents in CT.
Playing the State Lottery in Connecticut
CT created its lottery in 1971 thanks to Public Act No. 865, and it sold the first tickets in February 1972. Any draws for in-state games take place on WCCT-TV, or Channel 20. These draws include daily games with small jackpots. The jackpot game Lotto! draws twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays. The jackpot starts at $1 million and increases if the Tuesday drawing does not result in a win. The Connecticut Lottery has also introduced a repayable Lucky Links game that is like tic-tac-toe plus Keno. Players can also join the multi-jurisdictional games Lucky for Life, Mega Millions, and Powerball.
You must be 18+ to buy a ticket. Players can purchase tickets for the Connecticut Lottery from over 2800 locations throughout the state, but not online. SB 21 has a clause to allow the purchase of lottery tickets online, so residents in CT should keep their eyes on the bill’s progress if this is something that interests them.
Other Important Information About Gambling in Connecticut
In exchange for their exclusive monopolization of casinos in Connecticut, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun pay 25% of their revenue earned from slot machines back to the state. In 2018, this equaled approximately $263.2 million.
The CT Lottery has paid more than $18.2 billion to its players and $10 billion to the state’s General Fund. In 2019, the General Fund contribution was approximately $370 million. The state splits this between many departments in Connecticut, but it used $89 million in the Libraries and Education Services and it gave $3.33 million to the Conservation and Development.
The Connecticut Lottery Corporation oversees the revenue for sports betting in the state. Many believe that gambling revenue here initially brings in $40-80 million a year. This too would go to the General Fund to invest in state projects. For fantasy sports, operators need to pay an annual registration fee of $15,000 and the state will tax the revenue at 10%.
The Future of Gambling in Connecticut
If the government reaches an agreement with the tribes and SB 21 passes through into law, we can expect to see many forms online gambling in Connecticut become legal and available for players. Attitudes to gambling in the Constitution State have changed a lot and both players and operators are keen to see lawmakers enact these changes. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before multiple types of online betting are available here!