As of Oct. 19, the state of Connecticut completely legalized sports betting on all platforms. Those eligible to gamble are limited to individuals over the age of 21, or in the case of pari mutuel wagering, which involves pooling money, this can be done by individuals 18 years or older.
In 2018, the United States Supreme Court came to a decision overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 federal law which banned commercial sports betting, per the New York Times. Since then, many states have been rushing to legalize sports betting for economic reasons.
This was a long time coming, as this idea has piqued the interest of Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont since May 27 of this year, when he signed legislation which legalized online gaming and sports wagering in the state. The delay was caused by the federal government, who first had to “publish a memorandum of understanding in the Federal Registrar,” as per Kaitlyn Krasselt of the Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection, according to actionnetwork.com. Following federal approval, online sportsbooks had to seek state-level certification, which took several weeks.
According to a press release from the office of Governor Lamont, the venture is a joint collaboration between the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Tribe, who will be offering their newly-legalized sports betting through their own respective mediums like FanDuel, Rush Street Interactive and DraftKings. As the same press release states, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has approved over one hundred games and offerings through these sites.
CTInsider reports that the two aforementioned tribes have had separate agreements with CT since the ‘90s which outline the state’s rights to gaming exclusivity within the state made possible by the percentage of revenue the tribes contribute. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation reported in 2019 that the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Conn. and the tribe’s other businesses draw in approximately 12.8 million visitors per year, with 77 percent of gambling expenditures coming from those visiting from out-of-state. This speaks volumes to the state’s bustling gambling market, and the endless revenue possibilities for Connecticut as they expand the market to sports betting.
Both Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., and Foxwoods Resort Casino are offering a unique set of kiosks and options to place sports bets right inside of the casino. In spirit of the new additions to the lucrative industry in Connecticut, governor Lamont placed the first legal bets in the state’s history, symbolizing a monumental shift in the way that betting takes place in the state. “I am very proud to say that I placed the first legal, in-person sports wager in our state’s history just two weeks ago, and I encourage those who want to participate in placing wagers to do so, responsibly,” Lamont stated in the press release.
Boasting some of the largest and most popular casinos in the country, it is on-brand for the state of Connecticut to welcome a new and more digitized way of gambling, beyond retail betting.
The strategic move by the state allows for a new revenue stream, estimated at $100 million a year going to the state according to an article by CBS New York. Connecticut follows suit with fellow northeast states like New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island in their efforts to make sports gambling more of a legitimate business as opposed to an underground market. ESPN’s website shows a map of where sports betting is legalized, still being worked on, or not yet legalized.
A trade group called the American Game Association whose purpose is to represent casinos has praised the legalization of sports betting. President and CEO of the AGA, Geoff Freeman remarked that the new market of legal sports gambling “will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the games we love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others.”
This legislation gives the greenlight to not just domestic sportsbooks, but also offshore sportsbooks who can now legally provide their services to gamblers in Connecticut, thus expanding the opportunity for Connecticut residents to make wagers overseas. Furthermore, offshore betting is now available to 49 of 50 states, with Washington state as the outlier.
In order to keep legal betting profitable, tax rates must be low enough for legal bookmakers to compete with their illegal counterparts. As per the CT Mirror, the state of Connecticut will collect a 13.75 percent tax on all fantasy sports and sports betting.
As of right now, bets can be placed on college sports and esports (excluding those which involve Connecticut teams, and events that are part of intercollegiate tournaments), Olympic Games or other international sports and professional sporting events whose athletes’ compensation is more than their expenses.
More information and details about the changes to betting laws in Connecticut can be found at ct.gov/gaming.