Like the New England Patriots closing in on a drive-finishing score, Connecticut has inched closer to the sports betting goal line. Indeed, the state will likely finally make it to the endzone next week.
On Wednesday the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) of the US Department of the Interior published its approval of the amended compact between the state and the Mohegan Tribe. The compact allows the Mohegans to launch both retail and online sports betting. At present it appears the sportsbook at Mohegan Sun will be ready to open prior to the Week 3 slate of NFL games that starts Sept. 23.
Gov. Ned Lamont had submitted amended compacts with both the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation to the BIA back in late July. There is no publication date as yet for the Mashantucket Pequot’s approved compact, although that should follow soon.
Federal approval of compacts needed for tribes’ to launch sportsbooks
The amended compacts were one necessary piece of the complicated sports betting puzzle in Connecticut. Gov. Lamont first completed negotiations with the tribes in March. However it took until May before state lawmakers passed a bill actually empowering the governor to amend the compacts.
The compacts additionally required federal approval to take effect. The BIA had a 45-day window to review and approve them, making Sept. 10 the deadline. Had that date passed without any judgment, approvals would have been automatically conferred.
However last week Gov. Lamont announced the BIA had approved both compacts even if the new compacts had yet to be published. Thus the publication of the Mashantucket Pequot’s amended compact should be imminent.
While awaiting federal approval of the compacts, regulators drafted and finalized rules for sports betting. The General Assembly’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee approved those rules at the end of August.
CT Lottery soon to join Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods to offer sports betting
In addition to the tribes soon being able to offer both retail and mobile sports betting, the new sports betting law permits the Connecticut Lottery to operate up to 15 retail sportsbooks in the state as well as one online sportsbook. The CT Lottery has partnered with Rush Street Interactive as an operator.
According to Legal Sports Report, the retail sportsbooks at both Mohegan Sun and the Mashantucket Pequot’s Foxwoods Casino Resort should be set to go next week. A spokesperson explained to LSR how the casinos need additional time to complete final preparations before they will be ready to start accepting bets.
Those locations should open prior to the CT Lottery’s retail sites which likely will not go live until October. Neither the tribes nor the CT Lottery has announced when their online sportsbooks will launch.