With their neighboring states jumping on board with sports betting since the legalization in May of 2018, the question looms: can you bet on sports in Connecticut?
Connecticut finally joined legal sports betting states in 2021. Governor Ned Lamont signed the bill in May 2021, allowing for both retail and online casinos. The situation in other states might be different.
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The friction between the government and the Native American tribes has finally been solved, and they are able to provide sports betting in their casinos. The tribal casinos were negotiating behind closed doors with Governor Ned Lamont the last session and ultimately got things solved.
The State Lottery, the Mohegan Tribe, and Mashantucket Tribe will be able to have online and retail sports betting up and running for the 2021 NFL season. This came after years of tough negotiations and legislative gridlock.
In February 2020, a new sports betting bill (H 5168) was put forward which would authorize the activity with in-state gambling operators like casinos, lottery outlets, and racetracks. The bill was put forward by the Joint Public Safety and Security Committee, and Republican Joe Verrengia. This new bill would approve sports betting licenses in the entertainment zones of the state: Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury, and must all be within 10 miles of one another.
Some major adjustments from bills past are that sports bettors wouldn´t have to visit a physical venue to set up their sports betting account to bet online, and they are removing the cut of the profit to local sports teams. This bill obviously doesn’t appeal to the tribal casinos, and they stated if the bill passes and tribes don’t get exclusivity to offer sports betting, they will be suing the state for breach of contract.
The two mega-casinos in the state are located only 10 miles from one another and are considered resorts or getaways – with restaurants, spas, stores, arenas, gyms, and pools. They host tens of thousands of guests per week, guests that likely would enjoy placing a bit of money on sports or a matchup.
Connecticut is home to roughly 3.5 million people, and currently, the only methods of betting in the state are at casinos or participating in the state lottery. With nearby states like Rhode Island hopping on board, they could lose potential revenue to neighboring governments if they don’t reach an agreement with the native tribes.
Connecticut Sports Betting Legalization Timeline
2017-2020: Bureaucratic Complications
Even before the federal government made it officially legal for stares to open up their sports betting markets, CT had already expressed its desire to get the ball rolling. In 2017, they passed sports betting legalization. In 2018, the Supreme Court knocked down Nevada's monopoly on sports betting.
However, the state had not set up any regulatory mechanism or way of assigning licenses, so it was still essentially not allowed. This would take a surprising amount of time, given the state's seeming willingness.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, the governor and Tribes were working out lots of details regarding taxes and places where different bets would be allowed.
2021: The Dam Finally Breaks
It seems that the budget deficits from the pandemic were enough to really get the governor motivated. Governor Ned Lamont introduced Governor's Bill 3281.
This bill would also be reflected in a similar House bill. They would eventually become law in 2021, and the State Lottery is currently accepting bids from sportsbooks to start licensing as soon as possible.
Can I bet on Sports in Connecticut?
Like many other states, Connecticut laws around gambling online are dated, so there is no law that prohibits gambling online. Betting on sports online is actually some gambler’s preferred way to bet. Busy people that don’t have time to visit a sportsbook or someone who wants to get in on the action close to game time can simply log into their online sportsbook and place a wager on the spot.
Online sportsbooks that are safe and reputable are the best way to bet on sports – in our opinion. You usually can get better odds, hefty match bonuses, and plenty of deposit options available. Most sportsbooks are mobile-friendly now so you’re able to place a wager from your smartphone.
Since the 1990s, the Native American tribes in Connecticut have paid 25% of slot revenues to the state in exchange for exclusive rights to offer casino games. They have expressed interest in offering sports betting in their Connecticut casinos, but want that same exclusivity deal for sports betting. They would be happy to offer sports betting at the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, their two mega-casinos.
Without exclusivity to sports betting in the hands of the Native American tribal casinos, we fear that sports betting legalization won’t get anywhere anytime soon. These casinos are well equipped and definitely could use the extra revenue after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most of the world for months - resulting in lost revenue for so many businesses.
The Mohegan Sun is one of the most popular and largest casinos in North America, with over 364,000 square feet of gambling space, more than 5,500 casino slot games, 377 table games, and 42 poker tables. The Mohegan Sun would be one of the most prime locations for sports betting if legalized in the state of Connecticut.
The Foxwoods Resort Casino is by far the largest resort casino in the state, and together with the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, is the largest casino in North America. With three casinos, 3,400 slot machines and more than 250 table games, there is something for everyone at Foxwoods. There is also an 18 round golf course on site.
The state does not have any racetracks but you can bet online through Connecticut off-track betting's facilities.
Betting on Connecticut Teams
While Connecticut doesn’t really have any of the major professional sports, they are home to the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun – which you can bet on at many online sportsbooks. They are host to several minor league sports teams and some college teams. Online sportsbooks have odds on just about every sport imaginable, so you can likely find some decent odds on those as well!
Connecticut is smack dab in the middle of Massachusetts and New York, who have plenty of professional sports teams, so if Connecticut residents were looking to place a wager on a semi-local team, they’re able to do that as well.