Unknown Sportsbook Wins Connecticut Sports Betting License

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 21, 2023 12:00 AM
A new Connecticut sports betting operator will launch this fall.

Remember that available sports betting license in Connecticut? You know, the one that emerged because Rush Street Interactive dissolved their operational agreement with The Nutmeg State as they prepare to vacate the United States' gambling industry? Yeah, that one.

Well, here's the thing: The open Connecticut sports betting license has already been sewn up.

It's not especially surprising the decision was made so soon. It has been roughly a half-decade since sports betting in Connecticut was legalized and subsequently went live. As one of the most established gambling markets in the USA, operators were always going to trip over themselves to scoop up the suddenly available wagering rights. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Gaming Division, which oversees legal gambling in the state, no doubt pillaged through a long list of impromptu suitors. And given Connecticut's entrenched sports betting infrastructure, they don't need much time to make a decision or implement it.

So, in many ways, this news is expected. The real shocker? We still don't know which gambling operator won the Connecticut sports betting license.

Here's What We Know About Who will Take Over the Connecticut Sports Betting License

Truth be told, we know very little about these results. Connecticut set a swift deadline for applications, it came and went, and they announced the decision—without unveiling the sportsbook's identity. Here's Matthew Waters from Legal Sports Report with more on the news:

"The third Connecticut sports betting brand should go live again at some point this fall, though potential customers will have to wait to find out who won the contract. Wednesday (June 14) was the deadline for the Connecticut Lottery to select their new sportsbook partner after Rush Street Interactive pulled out of the 10-year commitment in March. That technically starts the negotiation period, after which the lottery will be ready to make an announcement, a spokesperson told LSR. The Connecticut Lottery took about a month and a half between selecting a partner and announcing that partner last time."

Not much else is known aside from these details. The deal is expected to be an eight-year agreement. That's how much time was left on Rush Street Interactive's 10-year gaming compact. But not even the contract length has technically been confirmed.

Naturally, the level of ambiguity dripping from this announcement has many reading the tealeaves, attempting to figure out which sportsbook won the license. DraftKings and FanDuel already rank among the active sportsbooks in Connecticut, so we know it's not them. Many believe it's one of the operators who tried previously to secure a license. That would narrow the field down to Caesars, MGM Resorts, Penn National and PointsBet. 

Looking to prior candidates is smart. But there are other online betting sites in the USA that have recently started expanding their footprint. Chief among them: Betwaybet365Fanatics and Tipico. One of them could have reasonably bagged the third and final Connecticut sports betting license.

Why isn't Connecticut Announcing the Sportsbook that Won the Betting License?

As Waters alluded to in his piece for Legal Sports Report, reviewing applications and selecting the recipient is only the first part of the process. There will now be a negotiation period between Connecticut and the sportsbook in question.

Once again, it isn't firmly known what will be haggled over during this time. More likely than not, though, financial commitments will be the primary focus. Rush Street Interactive guaranteed the state $170 million over the course of 10 years to nab this license the first time around. We shouldn't expect this number to be so high. After all, Rush Street Interactive significantly under-delivered on their promise. That's also part of why they're exiting the market.

Tax rates and retail presence will likely also be a focus on the ensuing talks. Will the newest sportsbook in Connecticut be allowed to set up physical locations? Will they have a relationship with any of the tribal-operated casinos? Will their tax rates differ depending on the medium where bets are placed? For instance, will the unnamed sportsbook pay a higher tax for bets placed online versus bets placed in person? 

So much is eligible for negotiation at this point. That might even include the length of the contract. Could the state want a shorter-term agreement so they can browse the operator market sooner? Or do they prefer a lengthier agreement that guarantees them more annual revenue over the longer haul?

This is why Connecticut has yet to reveal the owner of their third retail sports betting license. The agreement isn't finalized. Things can still go wrong. Just as they did during their last licensing launch, they want to make sure all the Ts are dotted and Is are crossed before they tether a specific company to their market.

When Will the Newest Connecticut Sports Betting Operator Launch?

This is yet another question without an answer. So far, the has stuck to "sometime in late 2023." Technically speaking, that could mean any point over the back half of the year—from July 1 and onward.

Early July, of course, is likely out of the question. Connecticut just announced the decision. And as previously noted, it took them roughly six weeks to transition from the initial announcement to a more formal briefing the last time they handed out a new license. That means Connecticut may not be ready to release the name of their newest licensed sportsbook until sometime in mid-July or maybe even early August.

With that said, if we had to guess, we'd bank on the process being wrapped up in time for the sportsbook to capitalize on betting odds for the 2023 NFL season. The beginning of the professional football schedule is always a desired launch date for gambling operators—and for good reason. The NFL is the most profitable league for sports betting sites in the United States. 

To that end, be on the lookout for Connecticut to name their latest sports betting partner sometime over the next month. From there, expect that sportsbook to begin taking wagers no later than the end of August or early September—which marks the start of the 2023 NFL regular season.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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