Federal Decision Opens Door for Online Sports Betting, Gaming in Connecticut Federal Decision Opens Door for Online Sports Betting, Gaming in Connecticut

Revised gaming compacts between Connecticut and the state’s two federally recognized-tribes have been given final approval by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

The decision means legal online sports betting and casino gaming in CT, has cleared the final regulatory hurdle and will launch soon—more than likely in October. This could include online poker in Connecticut.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, said the decision by the BIA represents a “critical step in the process of modernizing our gaming landscape here in Connecticut [and] ensures that our state will have a competitive, nation-leading marketplace for wagering both in-person and online.”

“[This] puts Connecticut 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,” he added.

The BIA ruling affects the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe, which own and operate the Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun casinos, respectively.

The drive toward online sports betting and casino gaming in the Constitution State gained traction on May 27, when Lamont signed legislation to legalize both. The Connecticut Regulation Review Committee followed the legislature and the governor by approving temporary—aka, “emergency”—regulations on August 31. The rules were drafted by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (CDCP).

According to Lamont’s office, the CDCP will “continue the licensing process and the review necessary to certify the gaming platforms.”

Under the bill signed into law by Lamont, each tribe is authorized to offer sports betting online and at sportsbooks inside their land-based casinos. The legislation also gave the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) permission to offer online sports betting at 15 retail locations, provided those betting shops are located at least 25 miles from a tribe’s land-based casino.

Both tribes have already picked their sports betting partners. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation announced a partnership with DraftKings last December, while the Mohegan Tribe clinched a similar arrangement with FanDuel in July.

The CLC selected Rush Street Interactive, which operates the BetRivers and SugarHouse brands, as its online sports betting partner in August.

Live dealer games included in emergency rules

The CDCP made an 82-page outline of its emergency regulations available to the public on August 16.

While the outline includes a wide range of subjects, it stipulates that “simulcasting of live casino gaming may be conducted in another state” through March 31, 2022, and broadcast online by a licensed operator.

The outline also shows that the CDCP defines poker as a peer-to-peer game. The agency also said that every house-banked online casino game, excluding a progressive jackpot, must have a return to player payout rate greater than or equal to 80%.

Other rules stipulate that once a player exceeds $2,500 in lifetime deposits, the electronic platform that the player is utilizing must prevent the player from making any additional wagers until they either acknowledge that they have the capability to establish responsible gaming limits or they close their account.

Players who reach the lifetime gaming deposit threshold of $2,500 will continue to receive such notices every six months, the CDCP said.