Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed the House Bill 6451 into law on Friday, May 28, making CT the sixth US state to legalize online casinos and the seventh to have regulated online poker. The bill should take effect on July 1, 2021.
The Governor’s signature was the final step in the process after the bill had successfully passed the Senate vote on May 26. The House of Representatives sent the bill to the state Senate after passing it with a 122-21 margin.
The final signature was a mere formality as Gov. Lamont had already stated his intention to immediately sign the bill if it were to receive the necessary support from the Senate.
“By signing this bill into law, Connecticut is now on the cusp of providing a modern, technologically advanced gaming experience that will be competitive with our neighboring states and positions us for success into the future,” Governor Lamont said.
“Today, we celebrate the result of months of hard work and dedication toward an agreement that is best for the residents of Connecticut and the respective tribal members.”
Regulated Online Gambling Finally Arrives to Connecticut
The state of Connecticut has been toying with the idea of regulated online gambling for a long time now. It was back in 2011 that Dannel P. Malloy, the state Governor at the time, expressed his opinion that CT legislators should look into regulating online gambling.
The bill received an overwhelming support both in the House and in the Senate, where it was passed by a 28-6 margin. Three Republicans and three Democrats stood together against the CT gambling bill, expressing their concerns about dangers of excessive gambling that could ensue.
On the flip side, the new bill stands to generate $30 million in the next fiscal year, with the potential to bring in $83 million per year by 2026. Online gambling will be taxed at 18% on gross revenues for the first five years, followed by the 20% taxation rate for the remaining five.
When Will Online Poker and Gambling Go Live in CT?
Although the bill has been signed, there are still certain wrinkles that need to be ironed out before residents of Connecticut are able to play poker and casino games online.
The bill only allows the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to offer online casino and poker games. However, before this can happen, the compact between the state and the two tribes needs to be changed, and these changes must be confirmed by the US Department of Interior (DOI).
Tribes will only be allowed to have one online operator offering games outside of tribal lands, which means that, as things stand right now, there is room for just two poker sites in CT to kick things off.
The Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CTC) will also benefit from the new iGaming bill, as it will be allowed to offer select online games. However, that language certainly does not cover online poker.
With the population of 3.6 million, Connecticut does not represent a huge market, so major US operators like PokerStars USA, WSOP USA, and BetMGM USA will probably not be overly concerned if they are not able to get their foot in the door early on.
At the same time, the CT online gambling bill does not contain language that would prohibit multi-state agreements. This means that the state will likely seek to enter existing or create new interstate agreements in the near future, which would significantly improve its position in the regulated US market.