US Department of the Interior Approves Connecticut Sports Betting

Connecticut

On Thursday afternoon, not long before the kickoff of the 2021 NFL season, the United States Department of the Interior approved Connecticut’s new tribal-state compacts. Thursday was the deadline for the DOI to act on the compacts, and while it’s unclear if they signed off or allowed the deadline to pass with no action, Connecticut’s sports betting infrastructure has now been approved on the federal level. Operators are now targeting a full launch of online sports betting offerings by October.

In 2018, United States Supreme Court first paved the way for individual states to legalize sports betting when it struck down a federal ban of sports betting in the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. Connecticut lawmakers legalized sports betting on May 27, and the regulatory process has been moving quickly ever since.

Connecticut Operators

Earlier this year, Connecticut finalized plans for three entities to provide statewide mobile sports wagering. The Connecticut Lottery will partner with Rush Street Interactive, the Mashantucket Pequots’ Foxwoods Casino will partner with DraftKings, and the Mohegans’ Mohegan Sun Casino will partner with FanDuel. DraftKings and FanDuel have been providing Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in Connecticut for several years. The Connecticut Lottery’s partnership with Rush Street Interactive will also include an expanded retail sportsbook presence at 15 retail locations.

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Connecticut Lottery and Rush Street Interactive

The Connecticut Lottery announced its partnership with Rush Street Interactive on August 12. Still, it’s unclear whether it will be BetRivers or SugarHouse to be the official skin in Connecticut. It may launch as one brand and switch to another, per Rob Simmelkjaer, the chairman of the board for the Connecticut Lottery Corporation. Rush Street Interactive has guaranteed a minimum of $170 million to the Connecticut Lottery over the next 10 years to secure the sports betting license.

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Foxwoods Casino and DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook will launch its mobile sports betting platform in Connecticut as soon as regulations have been finalized. DraftKings will also launch a retail sportsbook that will reportedly feature floor-to-ceiling video walls and windows/kiosks for sports betting. The retail sportsbook is also expected to launch in October. There will also be a DraftKings kiosk at Gillette Stadium, where the New England Patriots play.

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Mohegan Sun Casino and FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook is launching a massive retail offering at the Mohegan Sun’s existing sports bar that will feature four betting windows and 41 kiosks with plans to open this winter. FanDuel’s Arizona retail sportsbook opened on Thursday at the Suns’ arena, and it plans to continue opening high-tech, cutting-edge retail sportsbooks. FanDuel’s retail sportsbook at the Mohegan Sun will feature a 15-foot LED video wall.

Next Steps

While the tribal-state compacts have now reached federal approval, they will not become operational until they are published in the Federal Register. Additionally, the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) must still approve the suppliers and vendors used by sports betting operators. Then, operators will be required to give the DCP a ten-day notice for when they would like to launch their sports betting platforms. Connecticut will use a seven-day soft launch to allow operators to monitor activity and work out any kinks, a process also used by Pennsylvania in 2019.

Rush Street Interactive, DraftKings, and FanDuel will be excited to launch their retail and online sports betting platforms when the regulations and details are ironed out. The Connecticut sports wagering market should quickly emerge as one of the more lucrative markets in the United States.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. As the United States embarks on an exciting journey towards the legalization of sports betting, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to write about the implementation process of one of my favorite hobbies.

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