Connecticut Ready To Dive Headlong Into Online Gambling After Feds Approve Gaming Compacts

Written By Derek Helling on September 9, 2021 - Last Updated on September 10, 2021

One of the final steps necessary for online gambling to open in Connecticut is now in the rearview mirror.

New tribal gaming compacts allowing for gambling expansion along those lines received federal approval.

With that matter resolved, CT residents could be enjoying the new gaming forms within weeks. All that really remains a mystery is an exact date for the licensed operators to actually start taking bets.

Feds approve Connecticut gaming compacts

On Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe announced the good news. The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs gave its full consent to the compacts between the three parties.

The Mashantucket Pequot run Foxwoods Casino while the Mohegans operate, obviously, Mohegan Sun. Other than existing games and sports betting offered by the Connecticut Lottery, those entities will still control gambling throughout the state.

“This critical step in the process of modernizing our gaming landscape here in Connecticut ensures that our state will have a competitive, nation-leading marketplace for wagering both in-person and online,” Lamont said.

“I thank the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approving these revisions, as well as the efforts of our partners with the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. Today’s announcement 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.”

This news follows the finalization of appropriate regulations to govern the activity in the state. While this approval comes later than stakeholders originally hoped, it also means the pending sportsbooks could be live for most of the NFL season.

The press release from Lamont’s office says that platforms should start operating sometime next month. That will eventually include quite an expansion as compared to the current status quo in CT.

What’s on the horizon for CT gambling?

In two little words, a lot. Both tribal casinos in the state will offer retail sportsbooks on their premises. Additionally, their CT sports betting partners’ online components (DraftKings Sportsbook for Foxwoods, FanDuel Sportsbook for Mohegan Sun) will be available throughout Connecticut with the exception of within the bounds of the opposite tribal gaming entity’s reservation.

For example, bettors on the Mohegan Tribe’s reservation won’t be able to use DraftKings to wager within that geofenced area. Users of the FanDuel app will face the same restriction on the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe’s territory.

The same goes for the CT Lottery’s sports betting partner, Rush Street Interactive, on both reservations. People on non-tribal lands in the state will have the option to use all/any of the three licensed operators simultaneously.

The lottery partnership includes 15 retail sportsbooks around the state as well. Those parties have not yet announced any of those locations. That information could be available soon, though, given this approval.

The same geofencing requirements for sports betting will apply to online casinos in Connecticut. DraftKings Casino and a FanDuel-operated but Mohegan Sun-branded platform are coming to CT at some point. Also uncertain right now is how, if at all, this Mohegan Sun online casino will differ from the one the Mohegan Tribe operates in other places like New Jersey.

The primary question that Connecticut residents likely have is exactly when any of this will become a concrete reality. There is no specific answer to that question right now. However, it could at least start to materialize before the calendar turns to November.

Photo by AP / Gary Kazanjian
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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