Rush Street Interactive will be the third and final online sports betting platform joining to launch in Connecticut as the state plans to go live this fall. DraftKings and FanDuel are the other two with Connecticut sports betting access through tribal agreements.
It comes after the Connecticut Lottery announced Thursday it is partnering with the Chicago-based company. Rush Street Interactive – which operates BetRivers Sportsbook and SugarHouse Sportsbook – will serve as the mobile skin for the state’s lottery.
While announcing the 10-year deal, a lottery official said Thursday it’s possible for sports betting to go live “during the NFL season,” kicking off Sept. 9.
RSI – which has mobile sports betting platforms in nine other states – will power Connecticut Lottery’s digital and retail sportsbooks.
Why Did The Connecticut Lottery Choose Rush Street?
The RSI agreement includes $170 million in guarantees to the Connecticut Lottery over the 10-year contract. That’s almost double the minimum $95 million required.
In addition, the online gaming and sports entertainment company will also include the Connecticut-based Sportech as a partner to extend sports betting at 10 of the 15 retail sports locations across the state.
In a news release, the chairman of the lottery’s board of directors Rob Simmelkjaer gave several reasons for choosing RSI. “First of all, from the purely financial viewpoint, we graded and perceived their offer to be the best offer among the ones received from various bidders.”
Simmeljkaer hailed RSI as a respected sports betting and gaming company, which has established itself as a leading innovator in the industry. The lottery representative also appreciated the partnering firm’s commitment to responsible gambling practices.
How Will RSI Collaborate with Sportech?
RSI will collaborate with Sportech, a local parimutuel operator, on 15 retail locations around the state. The local operator had previously threatened to take legal action against the state after it felt it would be excluded from sports betting following a new law. But Simmelkjaer said that any legal matter relating to Sportech was now moot.
Though neither side revealed any key details of the new deal, Simmelkjaer noted it’s likely the lottery will obtain 50% of the revenue share of net gaming revenue, and the Nutmeg State is guaranteed $170 million in revenue over the next decade.
A similar deal was struck between the New Hampshire Lottery and DraftKings in 2019.
A Significant Milestone for RSI
RSI – which was founded in 2012 – will operate the Connecticut Lottery’s sports betting platform, besides having a daily fantasy presence in the state. However, the RSI-Lottery partnership does not extend to online casino gaming, which is also legal. The lottery has yet to announce its partner for iLottery.
PlaySugarHouse, BetRivers, and RushBet are three leading brands of RSI, which operates in nine other states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In New York, RSI operates Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady retail sportsbook. The company took the first legal sports bet in the Empire State and has been the top commercial sportsbook in the state by revenue since it went live in 2019.
Richard Schwartz, president of RSI, said the partnership is a milestone a “significant milestone” for the group. He said the trust and confidence of a state-owned organization such as the Connecticut Lottery validate the strength of RSI’s award-winning online gaming platform and customer service.
DraftKings, FanDuel Are the Other Two
The Connecticut law and the tribal compacts allow only three mobile platforms in the state – one for each the federally recognized tribe, and one for the state’s lottery.
RSI will join DraftKings and FanDuel as the exclusive sports betting operators in a strategic and wealthy state, sandwiched between New York and Massachusetts.
The Boston-based DraftKings had struck a deal with the Mashantucket Pequot Indians in 2020. FanDuel is the recent entrant after Mohegan Indians opted out of its existing partner Kambi to welcome the Flutter-owned company.
The lottery took considerable time to select its sports betting partner, following a confidential process. Many believed the lottery would pick BetMGM, but RSI eventually turned out to be the one with a coveted license.