Tribes At The Forefront Of Connecticut Sports Betting As First Books Open

Written By George Myers on September 30, 2021

Sports betting is finally here. Connecticut is the latest state to join the legal sports wagering industry.

Retail betting began Thursday, and recent regulatory approvals target the first week of October for the launch of online wagering.

Revised tribal compacts and agreements between the state and Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes have been at the center of this process. Both will play hugely important roles in the state’s sports betting apparatus.

The timing, meanwhile, is impeccable for fans, the tribes, and sportsbook operators. Both college football and the NFL are hitting their midseason strides and Major League Baseball enters its monthlong playoff schedule.

Tribal compacts put CT on verge of full-scale betting launch

Continued progress between the state and Connecticut tribes has created headlines and led much of the conversation around sports betting in recent weeks and months.

Parties have amended compacts to lay out the particulars of sports betting on tribal sites. This includes self-exclusion, payment functions, and the tribes’ continued control of gambling throughout the state.

This week, the Department of Consumer Protection approved state licenses for the Mashantucket-operated Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun. This allows them to kickstart sports wagers and online betting.

One day prior, the US Department of Interior published its approval of the amended compact between the state and Mashantucket tribe in the Federal Register. It previously published The Mohegan compact.

Both publications were major steps in a process that began after negotiations between the tribes and Gov. Ned Lamont finished this spring.

Lamont commented earlier this month on the process toward legal sports betting. He said it has put 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.”

Running sports betting alongside the tribes will be the Connecticut Lottery, which could launch up to 15 retail betting sites in addition to its online product.

Many of those sites, along with the tribes’ online operations, are expected to begin in early October.

But Connecticut sports fans don’t need to wait until then to bet.

Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun launch retail sports betting

Highlighting the tribes’ progress was the announcement Wednesday that DraftKings and the Mashantucket Pequot tribe would begin retail sports betting on Sept. 30.

Betting will be available at a temporary DraftKings Sportsbook inside Foxwoods Resort Casino, at both the Ultimate Race Book and kiosks situated throughout the resort.

Foxwoods and DraftKings are expected to announce a permanent sportsbook opening in “coming weeks,” according to a media release. It is currently in the final stages of construction.

Bettors can place wagers at Foxwoods on professional and college sports; this weekend is likely to garner heavy action on college and NFL football.

“Today we celebrate a new era for our Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, sports fans, Foxwoods guests and Connecticut residents,” Rodney Butler, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler said in the release.

Butler said collaboration within state government “helped pave the way for legal sports betting and expanded gaming,” with “trusted gaming operators like our Tribe and DraftKings [leading] innovation across Connecticut.”

Currently, DraftKings is in competition with FanDuel Sportsbook.

FanDuel partnered with the Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Sun and launched its retail betting location on the same day. Bettors can wager at Bow & Arrow Sports Bar inside the property.

FanDuel also has kiosks throughout the property and is working on a permanent location for its book.

Photo by Associated Press
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George Myers

George Myers is a writer with extensive experience in both news and sports reporting. He has primarily covered baseball and football, along with the intersection of sports and lawmaking.

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