Connecticut's iGaming rules lump poker in with live dealer casino games, but leave interstate issues ambiguous

Connecticut Regulation Review Committee Approves Emergency Rules For Online Gambling And Sports Betting

Connecticut officials continued to move ahead on online gambling and sports betting today by approving regulations to govern it. A launch date can’t be set yet because of a necessary federal approval. However, today’s action by the Connecticut General Assembly’s Regulation Review Committee brings the launch one step closer.

That body approved the state regulations “that will eventually provide structure and rules for sports betting and online gaming,” said Tara Chozet, director of public relations and social media for the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC).

The rules in question are emergency rules, meaning they are only temporary. Many states use this approach to get new gambling verticals off the ground quickly, following up with permanent rules after the market is already active.

CT online gambling needs federal approval

Chozet told Online Poker Report today that Connecticut still awaits approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the US Department of the Interior.

That federal approval will allow the state to amend its gambling compact with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes. Usually, that amendment can happen by default 45 days after a bill is signed into law. However, state officials appear to be waiting for an official response before proceeding with the launch.

There is also testing and supplier licensing to be done. However, with only two master license holders (three for sports betting, including the lottery) and one skin apiece, this shouldn’t take as long as it has in other states.

Gov. Ned Lamont signed HB 6451 into law on May 27, permitting Connecticut online casinos, poker, sports betting and iLottery.

Online gambling operators are in place

Chozet’s organization literally has a skin in the game – online sports betting through Rush Street Interactive (RSI). CLC partnered with RSI on July 6 and formally announced the operator’s role on Aug. 12.

Mohegan Digital has a deal with FanDuel. The Mashantucket Pequot tribe, which operates Foxwoods Resort and Casino, chose DraftKings.

Today, Lamont said this about the committee approval:

“The passage of the regulations for sports wagering and online gaming is a significant step forward for Connecticut and our partners in this new marketplace. In working collaboratively with the Mohegan Tribe, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, and the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, Connecticut has crafted nation-leading legislation, which will position our state as a leader in this space and will provide an elevated user experience for eligible residents.”

Non-residents will also be able to wager on the apps within the state’s borders.

What’s in the Connecticut online gambling rules?

The internet gaming portion of the rules contains few surprises. Most of the quirks we’ll see in the Connecticut market, such as its duopoly structure, are old news by now. By and large, Connecticut has avoided the mistake of reinventing the wheel, and simply copied the most common sense policies of other jurisdictions.

A few minor details do stand out, however:

  • The rules for live casino games are given considerable space, suggesting that Connecticut anticipates a live dealer studio opening in the state despite its small population
  • Peer-to-peer games (i.e. CT online poker) are considered to be live casino games, i.e. in the same category as live dealer blackjack
  • These rules contain provisions for temporary simulcasting of live dealer games from another state until next March. It seems possible that the intention in lumping poker together with live dealer games is to cover both with a single set of interstate policies once the permanent rules come into effect.
  • Operators must provide players with opt-in responsible gambling tools that include, at minimum: daily, weekly and monthly deposit limits; daily, weekly and monthly wagering limits; a single bet maximum; and a daily play time limit.
  • Players must be informed once they hit $2500 in lifetime deposits, and confirm that they know about the site’s responsible gambling tools. That reminder and confirmation must repeat every six months after that point.
  • All casino games must have a minimum return-to-player of 80%, not including any contributions to progressive jackpots.
  • The top payouts for any casino game cannot have odds of less than one in 50 million. This will, in effect, cap the maximum payouts as well.
- Heather Fletcher is the lead writer with OnlinePokerReport. She's a career journalist, with bylines in The New York Times, Adweek and other publications. Reach her at [email protected]
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