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Legal Sports Betting In Connecticut

Hasan Nabulsi
UConn Huskies Football

Sports betting in Connecticut has been legal for longer than some might think. In fact, it’s been legal for four years.

In 2017, lawmakers and former Governor Dannel Malloy signed a package of bills that legalized sports betting pending the repeal of PASPA. That repeal came a year later towards the end of the 2018 legislative session.  

But, the original package of bills didn’t include any rules or regulations for how sports betting in Connecticut will work. 

It’s been years of back and forth between state lawmakers, present Governor Ned Lamont, the state’s two federally recognized tribes, and commercial gaming interests. These negotiations have effectively prevented the state from passing any bill which included a further framework for the industry.

The future outlook for the state does look bright. The governor, lawmakers, and the Governor are now on the same page for how the new market will look.

All signs point to the tribes being able to launch retail and online sports betting in Connecticut by the end of 2021.

Where Can You Bet On Sports In Connecticut?

If either of the current sports betting bills get passed in the 2021 legislative session it would open the door for both of the state’s tribal casinos to open a sportsbook.

Those casinos are Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun Casino. 

Foxwoods Resort
Foxwoods Resort

Foxwoods Resort is actually the fourth largest casino in the world and already has a partnership with DraftKings set. DraftKings will be operating the retail sportsbook on the casino property. The Mohegan Sun also has a partnership with Kambi to help launch their on-site sportsbook.

With deals already in place, and the legislature likely to legalize CT sports betting by this summer, it could be until late 2021 to early 2022 that the sportsbooks open.

Sports Betting Apps In Connecticut

At this time, there are no current sports betting apps in Connecticut. However, if everything goes smoothly within the state legislature, CT sports bettors will soon have multiple sports betting apps to choose from. 

DraftKings is partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot tribe and has access to launch an online sports betting site and app pending legislative and regulatory approval.

The Mohegan Sun also has a partnership with sports betting software supplier Kambi. Should online sports betting get passed in the state legislature they will have access to launch a sports betting app as well.

Connecticut Sports Betting FAQs

Can I Bet On The Uconn Huskies?

At this time, no you can’t bet on the UConn Huskies in Connecticut. However, current bills within the state legislature would allow betting on the Huskies if they are signed into law.

When Will CT Sports Betting Be Legalized?

The exact timeline is unclear, but legal sports betting in Connecticut will most likely be signed into law in the early summer of 2021. The current legislative session will adjourn on June 9, 2021. If a bill is to be passed, it will most likely be done towards the end of the session after it has been carefully reviewed by each legislative chamber.

Can You Bet On Sports at Foxwoods Resort Or The Mohegan Sun?

Currently, no. You can’t bet on sports at Foxwoods Resort or the Mohegan Sun casino. But, provisions within the current sports betting bills would allow retails sportsbooks at both venues.

What Is The Legal Age To Bet On Sports In Connecticut?

In order to put action on sports in Connecticut, bettors will have to be 21 years old or older.

Connecticut Sports Betting Timeline

2017: The First Sports Betting Bill Is Signed

In 2017, the federal case involving New Jersey vs. the NCAA was still ongoing. The NCAA argued that New Jersey couldn’t legalize sports betting and originally won. However, New Jersey took that case to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that it was unconstitutional to tell states how to run their individual gambling industries.

In anticipation of PASPA being overturned in 2018, then Governor Dannel Malloy signed House Bill No. 6948 also known as Public Act 17-209.

The bill gave the Department of Consumer Protection oversight over sports wagering within the current bounds of state and federal law. 

However, in order to launch CT sportsbooks, they needed PASPA to be repealed and lawmakers to come up with the proper regulatory framework. 

2018 – PASPA Repealed Too Late For Legislature

In March of 2018, the Public Safety and Security Committee held what is called an exploratory hearing. Since PASPA hadn’t been repealed at that point, no bills were in discussion. 

At that hearing, various stakeholders that would be involved in a future CT sports betting market gave their opinions to lawmakers. For example, representatives from the NBA and MLB came and presented why they want official league data to be used and that they should get an integrity fee. 

However, the biggest news of the year came in May when PASPA was finally repealed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The repeal meant states could now shape their sports betting laws however they wanted. 

Unfortunately, that repeal happened too close to the adjournment of the legislature that year. Lawmakers couldn’t file a bill and get legal sports betting in Connecticut passed in time. 

2019: Lawsuits Stall Negotiations

The year began with hope with CT SB 665 being introduced in the state legislature in late January

But, those hopes were dashed when in the very next month, Governor Ned Lamont chose not to include sports betting within the state budget. This was an early indicator that sports betting was not a top priority.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont

Even so, In March, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment signed a deal with Kambi plc. in order to operate on-property and online sports betting in CT should legislation allow them to.

As the year progressed, complications with the stakeholders in the CT gambling industry blocked any progress from being made on the issue of sports betting. The tribes wanted to open a casino in East Windsor, but so did MGM Resorts International. 

MGM Resorts went so far as to file a lawsuit with the federal government because of the state’s choosing of the tribes over having a bidding process. The topic of CT sports betting bills that year got lost within these negotiations and could not even be revived by a special legislative session.

2020: Coronavirus Kills Sports Betting Hopes

The year began with Governor Lamont voicing his support for legal sports betting in Connecticut. Multiple bills were introduced in January and February, however, most of them tried to legalize sports betting outside of the tribes’ control.

Debates and hearings for such bills were not properly had because of the COVID-19 pandemic which temporarily shut down the state legislature. When they reconvened, other immediate issues to precedence over sports betting. Those bills died in committee.

The year ended off on a positive note for sports bettors in Connecticut. DraftKings announced that they had partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Foxwoods resort to launch online and retail sports betting in December 2020. 

The deal would take full effect once legislation is signed.

2021: Everyone Is On The Same Page

Coming into the year, the state was looking for any way to increase tax revenues. That’s because the state’s budget deficit had become overwhelming from the pandemic the year before.

Governor Ned Lamont had come around to the idea to simply allow the tribes to have full control over sports betting as a means to expedite the legislative process and get immediate tax revenue. 

He even introduced Governors Bill No. 3281. The bill would allow him to renegotiate the state’s tribal gambling compacts and give the tribes the ability to offer sports betting as well as iGaming.

The state legislature also had the same idea as they introduced Proposed Bill No. 146. Sponsors included 17 members within the House and Senate combined. 

In March, the Governor and both the tribes came to an agreement to amend their tribal compact. That new compact will go to the federal government for approval. In the mean time, the state legislature will have to pass the bills in the coming months.