The first month of iGaming was worth $1.2 million in tax revenue for Connecticut, split between the state's two operators

The First Revenue Numbers Out Of Connecticut Show A Slow Start

Even accounting for the smaller population, Connecticut‘s online casino revenue is off to a slow start compared to other iGaming states. Yesterday, the Nutmeg State released its revenue figures for October and its two online gambling operators generated a bit less than $8.9 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR). After promotional deductions, the total is $6.6 million in taxable revenue.

Those figures account for Connecticut online casino revenue gathered during the soft launch, from Oct. 12 to 18, as well as that from the full launch on Oct. 19 through the end of the month.

On that latter date, Connecticut’s two tribal retail casino-licensed operators – DraftKings and FanDuel – launched online casino and sports betting. Also on Oct. 19, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) launched PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook – a Rush Street Interactive (RSI) brand. The soft launch period’s contribution to total revenue was probably quite small, as operators had a strict cap on the number of signups during that time.

Michigan’s launch earlier this year is comparable because it also came late in the month, on Jan. 22.

Although Connecticut is home to just 3.6 million residents compared to Michigan’s 10 million, the Wolverine State‘s January 2021 GGR was proportionally much higher – at $29.4 million. Adjusting for both population and days of activity, Connecticut averaged $206,000 per million residents per day (ignoring the soft launch period). Michigan, on the other hand, averaged $326,000.

That came from the nine online casino operators who were live in the state on day one. Since then, Michigan’s has added five more operators and is on course for over $1 billion in iGaming GGR in its first year.

Two-brand limit may make for a smaller market

Connecticut has a limit of just two iGaming skins, DraftKings Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino. As a result, Nutmeggers may always trail Michigan and most other states in per capita GGR. That said, its total and even its per capita numbers should easily surpass West Virginia, which had $7.1 million in GGR during the entire month of October, or $127,000 per million residents per day. It has more brands than Connecticut ever will, but its tiny population means it’s not a focus for their marketing efforts.

On the other hand, Pennsylvania’s early numbers in 2019 were lower still. So Connecticut may just need some time to ramp up.

Gov. Ned Lamont released a statement yesterday announcing that Connecticut had received $1.2 million in payments from iGaming. He said he was pleased with the result. That money comes from an 18% tax on adjusted revenue. Added to this was $513,000 coming from the 13.75% tax on sports wagering.

Lamont says of the “seamlessly” deployed betting opportunities:

“We worked tirelessly with our casino and state partners to ensure Connecticut consumers would have positive user experiences across platforms, and that is exactly what these results illustrate. We’re off to a great start with this new gaming marketplace and we’re looking forward to years of success.”

CT iGaming shows a low hold in early days

Nutmeggers placed nearly $313 million in wagers, with DraftKings Casino in the lead at $189,562,887, according to figures from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s Gaming Division (DCP). They won back $304 million of that, for a gross hold of just 2.9%.

Promotional expenses ate away at that hold even further.

The Foxwoods Resort Casino owner – the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation – gave out $1,246,418 in promotional credits for DraftKings Casino users. That left taxable revenue of $3,610,437.

Mohegan Sun Casino, operated by the Mohegan Tribe, went even further. It actually gave away as much in promotional credit as it earned in net winnings. However, it only deducted $1,010,145 (25% of GGR, the maximum allowed), and paid tax on $3,030,434 in revenue. It cannot claim the unused portion in future months.

DraftKings takes the early lead in sports betting

DraftKings Sportsbook is taking the early lead in the sports betting race, at least in revenue terms. It pulled in more than four times as much as Mohegan. DraftKings’ online sports betting revenue totaled $3,645,466 before promotional adjustments, compared to $874,160 for Mohegan and $293,732 for the lottery’s PlaySugarHouse brand.

DraftKings’ advantage was mostly in its hold rate, however. Things were much more even in terms of handle. DraftKings gathered nearly $24 million of Connecticut’s $54 million in online sports wagers. Mohegan actually beat it there, with $27 million and PlaySugarHouse accounted for the remaining $3 million.

Total payments to the state were, as mentioned, around $513,000. DraftKings paid the lion’s share at $370,429. Mohegan and the CLC paid $83,810 and $29,465, respectively.

Connecticut doesn’t collect taxes on retail sportsbooks at the casinos, because they’re on tribal lands. Therefore, only the CLC paid that tax, which was just $29,247.

The first of CLC’s retail sportsbooks launched on Oct. 25, collecting $541,846 in wagers. Bettors won $326,534, but the CLC had no promotional expenses.

- 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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