- US Online Poker
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Connecticut is almost ready to play ball via online gambling and sports betting platforms, now that it’s received the necessary federal approval for its amended tribal compacts. The new compacts themselves were signed in March, between the Governor’s Office and the two tribes which run the state’s casinos. All that’s left before online gambling can launch in the state is the licensing and review process by the state’s regulator in order for the gaming operators to be certified.
Then Connecticut online casinos, poker, sports betting and iLottery sales are likely to launch in October, according to a press release sent out at 4:40 p.m. today by Gov. Ned Lamont.
He’d signed the relevant bill, HB 6451, into law in May.
Recently, Connecticut lawmakers created rules for the new forms of betting.
Connecticut officials awaited federal approval to change the state’s gambling compacts with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes. That approval arrived today from the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the US Department of the Interior.
The approval meant the March agreement between the tribes and Lamont could go forward. In that agreement, the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort and Casino operators agreed to keep their duopoly on casino games, but cede an online sports betting skin and the iLottery to the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC).
Sports betting had originally been the province of the tribes.
Next, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s Gaming Division (DCP) has three operators to license, review and certify.
For Mohegan, that means its recent partnership with FanDuel can get off of the ground. For the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, it means the same regarding its Foxwoods operator, DraftKings. The CLC will be putting forward Rush Street Interactive (RSI), but it’s unclear what the name of the app will be.
The two casino operators will offer online gambling, but all three entities will have online sportsbooks.
By the time sports betting launches, Nutmeggers may be able to bet on the New England Patriots vs. the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Jets – Oct. 17 and 24, respectively. New York Giants fans may end up with less thrilling matchups, unless the launch happens in time for the Oct. 3 game against the New Orleans Saints or the Oct. 10 contest with the Cowboys.
FanDuel will operate Mohegan’s online casino. However, FanDuel may not be the brand Mohegan players see. That’s because Mohegan Digital – Mohegan’s online casino brand – may be looking to create its own identity here.
Similarly, the CLC’s online sportsbook may not have RSI’s usual branding of BetRivers. The lack of clarity about branding is due to a state rule that the online gambling platforms cannot promote any retail casino brand. Rush Street Gaming (RSG) operates a chain of casinos known as Rivers in Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania.
For a final bit of uncertainty about Connecticut’s upcoming launch of two online casinos and three online sportsbooks, it’s unclear what Foxwoods is doing about its online casino brand.
Although Foxwoods partnered with DraftKings in December 2020 for a physical sportsbook, an online sportsbook and daily fantasy sports, the wording never specifically said DraftKings would be its online casino operator. DraftKings Casino is already available in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Asked for a comment about the federal approval and plans going forward, a Foxwoods spokeswoman referred Online Poker Report to the governor’s press release.
In that release, Rodney Butler – Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation chairman – said:
“We will continue to work with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection to make sports betting and iGaming available as soon as we are legally allowed to do so in Connecticut.”
For now, the clearest aspect of how Connecticut’s online gambling marketplace will work is the tax rate. Connecticut will receive an 18% cut of online casino gambling’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the first five years. Thereafter, the Nutmeg State will get 20% of the GGR.