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FanDuel has put an end to the need for speculation about its future in Connecticut today. It will officially partner with Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment (MGE) on retail and online sports betting, online casino and daily fantasy sports at its flagship casino in the state, the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.
Until today’s announcement, it wasn’t clear if FanDuel would partner with MGE for CT online casino or possibly the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) for sports only. The timing of its announcement may not be coincidental, in that regard. Yesterday was the date on which the CLC had committed to choosing a sports betting partner. The CLC and the winning provider haven’t yet made the news public. Nonetheless, FanDuel and Mohegan may have been waiting for that date to reveal their own deal.
Even with the deal being made official, FanDuel’s online casino and sportsbook can’t yet take bets in CT. The state is still waiting for federal approval of the gambling expansion state lawmakers approved in May. Because Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes have a gambling compact with Connecticut, the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the US Department of the Interior still needs to approve amending the compact. After that, there will still be the usual regulatory and testing procedures to go through, which can take anywhere from a few months up to a year or more.
“Mohegan Sun is an iconic casino and entertainment destination in the Northeast, and we are excited to announce our first tribal gaming partnership with one of the leading tribal operators in the United States,” said Amy Howe, President of FanDuel Group. “We have some incredible plans for the retail space at Mohegan Sun, with the potential to be the largest FanDuel sportsbook in the United States.”
FanDuel was already working with MGE for daily fantasy sports. This, in large part, fed the speculation that they would be partners for the new verticals as well.
Along those lines, Mohegan’s provisional DFS license was extended last week. So FanDuel can continue serving those players until Sept. 30 or the gambling expansion launches, whichever comes first. DraftKings similarly expanded its DFS partnership with the Mashantucket Pequot.
Online poker in Connecticut, however, is still a big question mark. FanDuel doesn’t have a poker app. However, FanDuel’s primary owner, Flutter, does have poker brands, most importantly PokerStars. MGE didn’t immediately answer a query from Online Poker Report‘s about whether online poker is possible in the future.
Overall, MGE’s announcement struck a hopeful tone that gambling expansion will launch before long:
“Sports bettors and fans across the state of Connecticut will have access to FanDuel’s industry-leading online and mobile betting experience this fall with wagering options available for professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey and more. Additionally, FanDuel will supply an online casino experience under the Mohegan Sun brand and will operate daily fantasy sports in Connecticut.”
The CLC, too, has said that it envisions its app launch as happening this fall.
Soon, MGE will open a temporary retail sportsbook at Mohegan Sun. “Four live betting windows and sixteen self-service betting terminals” will greet FanDuel Sportsbook bettors. It’s not clear whether there will be a Mohegan Sun Online Casino in Connecticut or one using the FanDuel brand, or something else entirely.
MGE’s announcement said this partnership is a Mohegan Digital priority. Even so, it doesn’t expect its permanent retail sportsbook to open until the winter. That will miss the beginning of the NFL season, but perhaps be just in time for a playoff run by the New England Patriots.