Connecticut Governor Signs Sports Betting into Law, Federal Nod Awaited

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Sports betting is now legal in Connecticut as the governor signed it into law Thursday, allowing online and retail betting in the state. But the federal approval is required to give the updated gaming compact with tribes a legal effect.

On Thursday, Gov. Ned signed HB 6451 into law that renewed compacts with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Indians tribes. Operators will have to undergo a few more regulatory procedures before sports betting finally comes to the Nutmeg State. However, most signs indicate a Fall 2021 launch.

Under the expanding gaming agreement, iGaming and online lottery are also legalized in Connecticut.

The executive signature comes a week after HB 6451 bill passed the House and two days after it was approved by the Senate.

What Did Lamont Say?

The Democratic governor said the legal sports betting in Connecticut would be able to provide its residents a modern and advanced gaming experience that would be competitive with its neighboring states, and that would position the Nutmeg State for success into the future.

Lottery Board Director Rob Simmelkjaer also said “It’s a great day for the industry, I think there’s no question about that.”

Simmelkjaer said it was a reconciliation between the state and the tribes, nobody that could ever be achieved.

Connecticut sports betting moved forward rapidly following years of deadlock between the state and the gaming tribes. It was only earlier this year that Lamont announced a groundbreaking deal with Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Indians to bring a competitive sports market to the state.

Connecticut Sports Betting Details

The updated gaming compact will allow the two tribes to open and operate retail sportsbooks at their Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos. The Mashantuckets have partnered with DraftKings, while the Mohegans have a prior sports betting deal with Kambi.

Under the agreement, both tribes will be able to offer statewide mobile betting. Since federal law prohibits tribes from opening their own mobile sportsbooks, the tribes’ mobile operations will come under the state lottery’s purview.

Similarly, Connecticut online casinos will also be regulated by state regulators.

However, daily fantasy sports will not be available for the rest of the year as it forces the operators to reapply and tether with one of the tribal partners or with the lottery before beginning operation in the state.

Connecticut Lottery’s Role in Sports Betting

In addition to two online skins through the two tribes, there will be a third mobile option that would be tethered with the Connecticut Lottery. Currently, the lottery has not finalized its online partner.

Along with its digital skin, the lottery can also operate as many as 15 retail sportsbooks.

Sports betting revenue will be levied at 13.75%, and the licenses will remain valid for ten years.

Operators who want to run sportsbooks for the lottery have 15 days from Thursday to submit their proposals. The lottery updated the timeline, making June 11 the last date to receive final proposals.

The lottery will select the winning bidder by June 28.

So far, four operators have been specifically asked to bid for the licenses after the lottery reviewed their preliminary presentations

What’s Next?

The state administration and Connecticut tribes now require approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior to amend the state’s compact with the tribes. The federal authority must approve the compact within 45 days after officially receiving the signed compact.

Though it appears a formality, Connecticut sports betting can be launched only after the federal nod.

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