Looking back at the history of the battle for online sports gambling and casino play, it’s surprising to note that the state of Connecticut has always been a vocal proponent. Still, it took the state’s legislature a good three years to pass online gambling legislation when the opportunity arose. That was when the U.S. Supreme Court released the nation’s ban against sports gambling in May of 2018. Since then, twenty-nine states have passed some form of sports betting legislation.

At this point, it’s great to announce that the fine people of Connecticut will soon be legally betting on sports. That’s online and at the retail level. They will also have access to play online casino games of chance for real cash. All of this was made possible when Governor Ned Lamont signed online and sports gambling legislation in May of 2021.

Intense Negotiations

While everyone in the state seemed to be in favor of such activities, it was a battle to get the new bill passed. It required intense negotiations with the state’s leading Indian Tribes, the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. It then took approval from The Department of the Interior, the government agency responsible for managing Tribe compacts.

After three years of intense negotiations, the Governor and Tribal leadership finally reached an accord. The door has officially been opened for Connecticut residents to wager on sports and enjoy online gambling access. This is great news for anyone in the state who supports gambling as a great form of adult entertainment. It means even more to the Tribal concerns.

In an interview with the press, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler stated the following:

“Gaming is more than a business to our tribe, it is the way we fund our government, pay for our children’s education, care for our elders, and provide healthcare to our members. The agreement not only ushers in a new modern era of gaming, but it solidifies our tribal/state partnership for years to come. We thank Governor Lamont and his staff for their sincere commitment and dedication and express our deepest appreciation to the many legislative friends who helped bring this across the finish line. Kutaputush (thank you).”

Provisions in the Law

Before discussing when residents will be able to place their first online bets, laying out the terms of the law seems relevant.

First, three groups will be controlling gambling access to sports and online casino gambling. Leading the way will be the aforementioned Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. They will be joined by the Connecticut Lottery.

Based on the language of the bill, the Indian Tribes will be permitted to offer retail sports betting access. They can do this through their land-based casinos like the highly popular Mohegan Sun Casino. They will also be permitted to offer online gambling websites that feature both sportsbooks and casinos.

It’s worth noting that both Tribal concerns have already formed partnerships with major sports and online casino gambling operators. The Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment group will be providing retail and online sports betting, gambling, and daily fantasy sports through Fanduel. Meanwhile, Foxwoods Resort Casino (Mashantucket Pequot Tribe) will partner with the sports betting company DraftKings.

As for the Connecticut Lottery, they will have the right to establish up to 15 retail sports betting sites throughout the state. They too will be permitted to offer online gambling services as well. To date, they have not yet awarded an exclusive contract for providing gambling services. That announcement is due any day now. The leaders in the fight for this big contract would figure to be BetMGM, Betrivers, Twinspires, Willian Hill, and perhaps PointsBet.

Of course, the state will be looking to get its piece of the pie. With that in mind, the new gambling bill calls for a tax rate of 13.75% on all forms of sports betting. Additionally, an 18% tax rate will be charged on online casino revenue, graduating to 20% after 5 years.

When Will Connecticut Online Casinos Go Live?

It’s a package deal. Online casino gambling will go live at the same time online sports betting websites go live. When will that be?

There is good news on this front. You see, the NFL regular football season is nearing. The potential to start accumulating sports betting revenue from NFL betting is a huge incentive. The first regular-season game is scheduled to be played on Thursday, September 9, 2021. That’s the target date for everyone concerned. Will the Tribes and Lottery be able to meet this deadline?

The answer is an emphatic yes. The tribes have contracted with DraftKings and Fanduel. Both of these operators are well versed in offering online gambling services in the U.S. It’s a good bet both operators could have online gambling operations up by the end of July. It would be more of a challenge for them to get retail sports betting sites in place prior to the start of the NFL season.

It’s the Connecticut Lottery that still has a bit of work to do. Still, any of the operators they have under consideration would be able to open online operations fairly fast. Getting retail sportsbooks open by the start of the NFL season will be a bit more of a challenge for them as well.

Given the motivation all parties have to get things going, it’s a good bet things will fall in place soon. That’s good news for the residents of Connecticut. Like the people throughout the rest of the country, Connecticut residents have been waiting a long time to bet on sports. The fact they can also play online casino games of chance for real cash is a bonus. It’s coming, and it’s coming in the next 60 days barring any kind of unforeseen disaster.