A 2024 Connecticut Sports Betting Has Yielded Some Troubling Results

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: May 11, 2024 08:00 PM
A 2024 Connecticut Sports Betting Has Yielded Some Troubling Results

A 2024 Connecticut sports betting study conducted by Gemini Research has revealed some alarming findings that could, and should, impact how the state regulates wagering in the future.

Among the main conclusions from the process: Problem gamblers are estimated to represent half of the state's sports betting volume despite accounting for roughly just 2 percent of the population.

This is, without question, a massive disproportion. So much so, in fact, it makes you wonder why more attention isn’t being paid to the results. Though the Nutmeg State doesn’t have a huge population, it’s not small potatoes, either. They rank 29th in total residents, which puts them closer to the national median than not. And with so many states attempting to address rises in problem gambling, you’d think this study on sports betting in Connecticut would generate more buzz.

The relative lack of attention is not an issue we can diagnose from afar. But results from the study, which was led by University of Massachusetts professor Rachel Volberg, were released right around the 2024 Super Bowl. While that timing was no doubt deliberate, there is a duality to it. Sure, sports betting in the United States is perhaps never more topical than during the month of February. That’s when odds on the NFL are most relevant. More specifically, it’s when betting on the NFL playoffs and betting odds for the Super Bowl are reaching peak interest. 

That’s also kind of the problem. So much focus is paid to the event itself that anything else in the sports world can fall by the wayside—even critical discussions directly or tangentially related to the big game. 

Regardless, the findings from the study are worth taking seriously. And they raise three crucial questions. First and foremost: How did Gemini Research arrive at these numbers? And then, what else did they find? Finally, how will this impact betting on sports in Connecticut moving forward, if at all?

The Connecticut Sports Betting Survey Confirmed Concerns Many Already Had

While the proportion of Connecticut sports betting transactions that get processed by problem gamblers is a staggering figure to read, it’s also one many experts predicted. “That was always kind of a well-known thing,” Paul Tarbox, the policy and communications director for the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, told the Connecticut Mirror’s Mark Pazniokas.

Still, to what end this sentiment was true remained debatable. The last Connecticut sports betting study was conducted in 2009, more than 10 years before the state officially legalized gambling. The results back then, while an extension of Tarbox’s statement, weren’t this stark. Here is a more in-detail look at Gemini Research’s findings, courtesy of Pazniokas:’

“More broadly, the researchers found that nearly 71 percent of all legal gambling revenue in the state comes from the fewer than 7 percent of residents who are problem (1.8 percent) or at-risk gamblers (4.9 percent). ‘The proportion of Connecticut gambling revenue from the 1.8 percent of people with gambling problems ranges from 12.4 percent for lottery products to 51.0 percent for sports betting, and is 21.5 percent for all legalized gambling,’ Gemini concluded.”

The sports betting figure naturally stands out. You effectively have 2 percent of the state’s population accounting for over half of Connecticut sports betting revenue

Some will point to a potential margin for error. Like most studies, this one cannot possibly be spot-on to the most microscopic degree. As Volberg explained, these figures are based on “thousands of surveys in which gamblers provided their own monthly accounts of spending.” That is far from a perfect process. And yet, even if you think there’s a semi-substantial margin for error, it doesn’t diminish the importance of these findings.

Will Sports Gambling Study Impact How Connecticut Regulates Gambling in the Futures?

Over the past year or so, as sports betting in the USA has become more ubiquitous, many states have decided more attention—and in some cases resources—to limit the adverse socioeconomic impacts of legal gambling. Connecticut is clearly no different…to an extent.

This study was commissioned by the state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. That suggests, if not proves, they’re aware and concerned about the potential dangers of legal sports betting in Connecticut. However, according to Pazniokas, the department released the study without so much as a comment contextualizing them. And they most definitely didn’t outlay any plans they have to work around the results in the future.

Perhaps it’s an issue policymakers intend to focus on during the next round of legislative meetings. Or maybe many officials are so concerned because the disproportionate business from problem gamblers seems limited to sports betting specifically. The share of problem gamblers who make up business for the state lottery (12.4 percent) and overall gambling (21.4 percent).

Neither stance (or plan) is a valid excuse for total silence, though. This is an issue the entire country must grapple with amid the rise of sports betting. And just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. On the contrary, those elected to look after their constituents’ well-being should be even more focused on addressing it.

What Can be Done to Help Address Problem Gambling in Connecticut and the Rest of the United States?

Of course, it’s easy for yours truly to sit here and write that. But how do you effectively implement better regulation? 

States can certainly take steps to make it harder for problem gamblers to access sportsbooks. And it does seem like the country at large could do a better job of restricting how sports betting advertisements are targeted and disseminated. In the end, however, there is no perfect solution. 

As is the case with Connecticut sports betting, states have decided the risks associated with regulated markets are more acceptable than those associated with laws that essentially drive and encourage citizens to bet with offshore sportsbooks.

And to be sure, this is a valid conclusion to draw. But from more aggressive regulation to allocating even more financial and physical resources to help battle and treat problem gambling, every key stakeholder can always be doing more. This includes not only Connecticut state officials, but federal policymakers and, yes, even sportsbooks themselves.

Will we reach a point in Connecticut and other states in which findings like this start to have more influence on USA sports betting policy? That’s the, quite literally, multi-billion-dollar question.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs:

  • EXCLUSIVE BONUS
    Bovada
    5/5
    50% bonus up to $250
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetOnline
    4.5/5
    100% bonus up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • EXCLUSIVE BONUS
    BetUS
    5/5
    125% up to $2,500
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Xbet
    5/5
    $500 Sign-up Bonus
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetNow
    4/5
    100% up to $1,000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • MyBookie
    5/5
    50% bonus up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Bookmaker
    4/5
    100% up to $400
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Sportsbetting
    4.5/5
    50% up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • EveryGame
    3/5
    $500 Sign Up Bonus
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • WagerWeb
    4.5/5
    100% up to $1,000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetDSI
    3/5
    100% up to $500 + $500 at BetDsi's Casino
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetNow
    4/5
    100% up to $450
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

Online Sports Betting may receive compensation if you sign up through our links. Rest assured, we avoid biases and provide honest opinions on sportsbooks. Read our affiliate disclosure here.