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This is a living launch day story and may be updated with events that unfold over the course of the day.
Online casino and sports betting launched in Connecticut at 6 a.m. today.
The statewide online marketplace debut followed a successful seven-day soft launch that began on Oct. 12. Initially, the target date for launch was Oct. 7, but delays at the federal level forced the state to push it back.
Now, all Nutmeggers can place online sports bets with DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and PlaySugarHouse. Connecticut online casino products have also launched through FanDuel and DraftKings’ retail casino partners – the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes, respectively.
The retail version of the FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook at Foxwoods first accepted wagers on Sept. 30. The CLC’s land-based options are on their way. They will be under the PlaySugarHouse brand.
Speaking of branding, FanDuel Casino will operate under the Mohegan Sun moniker, through Mohegan Digital. Its name is Mohegan Sun Casino.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced yesterday:
“Both tribes may also offer iCasino. More than 130 games have been approved by the Department of Consumer Protection for both the FanDuel and DraftKings apps.”
PlaySugarHouse, the Rush Street Interactive (RSI) brand that’s partnered with the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC), can’t offer an online casino product in the state, though. That’s per the state’s agreement with its casino-operating tribes, which was what brought about online gambling in Connecticut.
“This is one of the fastest state implementations of online gaming and sports wagering of any state in the nation.”
As of this afternoon, no major problems have been reported.
Some FanDuel users have had trouble signing up with FanDuel. Other complaints include the lack of PayPal as a payment option in the state, and people finding themselves bombarded with advertising on launch day and not knowing how to opt out. Mohegan Sun provided a link to an opt-out method to a Twitter user.
Otherwise, even though the full launch has surely generated much higher traffic than during the soft launch testing period, operators seem to have adequately prepared their servers for the increased load. To OPR’s knowledge, no downtime has been reported.
Kaitlyn Krasselt, communications director with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s Gaming Division (DCP), spoke on behalf of the state’s gambling regulatory entity.
She told Online Poker Report at 10:31 a.m. today:
“No issues so far. It’s been quiet.”
FanDuel Publicity Director Kevin Hennessy answered OPR‘s questions this afternoon, saying that he couldn’t compare Connecticut’s launch with those of other states because all states are different.
““We had a smooth launch this morning. Our first bet this morning was a $5 Same Game Parlay on the Braves/Dodgers game tonight.”
That FanDuel Sportsbook wager was already built and had four legs:
DraftKings Communications Director Stephen Miraglia told OPR the operator’s first bet during its “seamless” launch was also on that matchup:
“First bet: $25 on the Los Angeles Dodgers at -180 to beat the Atlanta Braves in tonight’s National League Championship game.”
Tara Chozet – the CLC’s director of public relations and social media – told OPR that first bet information on the PlaySugarHouse app won’t be available until tomorrow.
Chozet told OPR on Wednesday, Oct. 20, that PlaySugarHouse had the following happen during Launch Day:
“The first bet (after 6 a.m. on Tuesday) was a $10 bet on Ergi Kirkin to win against Raul Brancaccio at the Losinj Challenger (ATP tennis).
“The top three bet-on events:
- Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox (MLB)
- Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
- Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)
“Other events bet on:
• Chinese basketball
• Counter Strike (eSports)”
Connecticut’s road to legalizing online gambling was a convoluted one. Originally, the Governor wanted to legalize sports betting only, but insisted that the state lottery be able to participate. The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes objected, saying that sports betting qualifies as a form of casino gambling, for which they have the exclusive rights.
In order for the state to have a skin in the game, officials had to reach an agreement with the tribes. The deal they ultimately agreed on was for the tribes to share sports betting with the lottery, in return for the ability to bring their casino products online. The state also received permission to offer a limited Connecticut online lottery, consisting of draw ticket sales and Keno.
On Sept. 9, 2021, the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the US Department of the Interior approved the gambling compact amendments and officials moved forward on launching the online gambling marketplace.
Sadly, that was also the date of the beginning of the NFL season. State leaders and sportsbook operators had hoped to launch before then, but there was still more red tape to work through. That said, entering the legal online sports betting market during Week 7 of an 18-week schedule isn’t so bad, and the most profitable months of the year are still to come, in the early spring.
Nutmeggers can use their choice of three Connecticut online sportsbooks to bet on professional football and basketball, among other sports. Betting on college sports is possible too, but not on game involving in-state teams.
While Connecticut’s online sports betting didn’t launch statewide in time for Oct. 17’s Dallas Cowboys vs. the New England Patriots matchup, bettors can now support the beleaguered Cleveland Browns vs. the Denver Broncos on Oct. 21.
CLC Board Chairman Robert T. Simmelkjaer II tweeted on Oct. 12:
“The first ever sports bet taken by the @ctlottery and @PlaySugarHouse was a $10 bet on the Milwaukee Brewers to beat the Atlanta Braves in the MLB playoffs tonight.”
On Oct. 14, ctpost reported FanDuel Sportsbook took that same $10 wager on the MLB game, but didn’t say which team the bettor favored.
The publication also reported that DraftKings Sportsbook at Foxwoods accepted a first bet online for an undeclared amount:
“For Foxwoods, the first online sports bet was on the NCAA football matchup between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, with the bettor placing a wager for Louisiana-Lafayette to cover the spread (+4.5 points) against Appalachian State.”
Or Connecticut sportsbook users could do something totally unexpected, as one Canadian bettor did on Aug. 27. That’s the day single-event sports betting launched nationwide. As it is, Connecticut’s soft launch yielded bets through PlaySugarHouse on Russian table tennis and esports.
Matt Lee, spokesman for British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and its PlayNowSports online sportsbook, tweeted:
“The first singles bet was placed minutes after going live on @PlayNowSports – on a live Aussie Rules Football game. Different strokes for different folks.”