What We Know, And Don’t Know, About Sports Betting In Connecticut

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Connecticut hasn’t formally approved sports betting but that hasn’t stopped stakeholders from letting Connecticut Lottery officials know they are ready, willing, and able to set up shop in the Nutmeg State once it does. 

Connecticut Lottery officials announced yesterday they had received 15 Requests for Qualifications, or RFQs, for the chance to provide online and retail sports betting operations, assuming the state’s General Assembly passes legislation approving it later this year. 

“We are pleased to see significant interest from companies who would like to partner with the CLC to bring our online and retail sports betting offering to market,” said Rob Simmelkjaer, chairman of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, in a statement announcing the RFQs.

“Our staff and board will now begin a process of carefully reviewing the qualifications of the submitting parties as we work towards choosing the right partner in this important initiative for our state.”

Timeline For Connecticut Sports Betting

Governor Ned Lamont (D) announced earlier this year a deal with members of the Mohegan  Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe that would pave the way for expanded gambling opportunities in the state, including sports betting. 

A Senate committee passed the legislation in March, but it has not advanced to the full Senate for consideration.  The Connecticut General Assembly adjourns June 9.

Since the legislation involves tribal issues the deal must also be approved by the Department of Interior. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna Tribe in New Mexico, the first Native American to serve in a cabinet-level position. 

These hurdles aside the lottery is still moving forward with its efforts to approve an application by May 17. The system would then be on target to launch Sept. 6 — assuming lawmakers and DOI approves. This launch puts apps in Connecticut bettors’ hands in time for football season.

What Sports Betting Could Look Like In Connecticut

According to the terms of the deal, the lottery will have the right to open 15 retail sports betting locations, including Bridgeport and Hartford. 

Specific details as to how the mobile apps will run and who will administer sports betting won’t be known until the lawmakers in both chambers pass — and the governor signs — the legislation. When it was introduced earlier this year, Senate Bill 146,  the vehicle by which the compact is making its way through the legislature, says three apps will launch. The Connect Lottery will operate one skin and it is likely each of the two tribes in Connecticut will have a skin, approved by the government. We won’t know for sure, though, until sports betting is officially legal in Connecticut.   

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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