Connecticut Lottery On The Hunt For Retail Sports Betting Locations

Written By Martin Harris on July 30, 2021 - Last Updated on January 21, 2022

As Connecticut sports fans anticipate the imminent launch of sports betting in the state, they already know for sure a couple of places where they will be able to place their wagers.

Both Foxwoods Resorts Casino and Mohegan Sun will have retail sportsbooks. The state’s two tribes, the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegans, will offer online sportsbooks as well.

Meanwhile the Connecticut Lottery Corporation will be part of the action as well. The Connecticut Lottery will offer both an online sportsbook and up to 15 retail sports betting locations throughout the state. While those locations have yet to be pinpointed, a number of likely candidates are clear, including increasing talk of at least one large lottery-run sports betting venue.

One sports betting decision made, more to come for CT Lottery

When it comes to the CT Lottery and sports betting, the last several weeks have been suspenseful for another reason. After sifting through a large number of potential sports betting operators, the CT Lottery has now chosen its new partner. However, they have yet to make public who they have chosen.

The Mashantucket Pequot tribe has already partnered with DraftKings, while the Mohegans will work with FanDuel in Connecticut. But speculation continues regarding who the CT Lottery has chosen.

Mystery also surrounds possible locations for CT Lottery retail sportsbooks. That said, both the new law and other recent news helps at least provide some guidance to those conjecturing.

The new legislation and amended compacts include a stipulation regarding the CT Lottery’s retail sportsbooks. One of them must be in Bridgeport and another in Hartford.

The CT Lottery could partner with Sportech who currently operate 11 off-track betting locations in the state.

Sportech had earlier lobbied to be part of sports betting in the state, and after being shut out of getting a license of its own even threatened a lawsuit. As the CT Post reports, it’s unknown whether or not the CT Lottery has chosen Sportech as its operator.

In any event, CT Lottery has the option to sublicense some of its sportsbook operations to Sportech who could add them quite readily to current OTB sites.

Sportech OTB sites readymade to add sportsbooks

Indeed, CT Lottery officials have already scouted several Sportech’s OTB sites as possible locations for sportsbooks.

The Hartford Courant has reported how the CT Lottery had shown particular interest in Sportech locations in Hartford and the surrounding area. These include Winners Hartford, Winners Manchester at Shea’s Pizzeria and Sports Bar, and Winners Stamford at Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in Windsor Locks.

As far as Bridgeport is concerned, Sportech has a location there as well. Winners Shoreline Star in Bridgeport could potentially serve as a sportsbook site.

Other Sportech sites are in Bradley, Milford, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Torrington, and Waterbury. Additional Sportech OTB sites have operated recently as well, although some closed during the pandemic did not reopen.

XL Center a possible CT Lottery sportsbook destination

Whomever the CT Lottery partners with, there are plans as well to open one or two larger sports betting venues. The XL Center in downtown Hartford has drawn particular attention as a potential destination spot for Connecticut sports bettors.

Formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center, the site hosts some University of Connecticut Huskies men’s and women’s basketball games each year. It also provides home ice for UConn‘s hockey team and the minor league Hartford Wolf Pack franchise.

CT Lottery Chairman Rob Simmelkjaer described to the Courant how the sportsbook would form just part of a larger entertainment venue at the XL Center. Aside from dining, bars, and other amenities, the site could additionally host an esports events.

According to WFSB in Rocky Hill, after suffering through numerous cancelled and postponed events during the pandemic, XL Center officials are enthusiastic about the prospect of the site becoming a sports betting hub in the state.

“It definitely could be a big component of the revitalization” of the site said XL Center General Manager Ben Weiss.

Once sports betting launches, the CT Lottery will no doubt initially focus on smaller locations. As Simmelkjaer has noted, more ambitious plans such as those involving the XL Center may even take until the 2022 NFL season to come to fruition. However certain elements of the plan, including a sportsbook launch, could go live sooner than then.

Questions remain, but answers should start coming soon as Connecticut nears the day sportsbooks begin accepting those first legal wagers.

Photo by AP / Jessica Hill
Martin Harris Avatar
Written by
Martin Harris

View all posts by Martin Harris