Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection issued provisional licenses on Thursday for the DFS operations in Connecticut. The state moved forward with the implementation of its new sports betting laws on July 1.
The DFS operators were at risk of being offline amid the new gaming bill, which the governor signed into law in May.
Connecticut’s new gaming law is the culmination of a renegotiated agreement with the state’s two tribes – Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot – under which both tribes and the state’s lottery can offer online gaming, online and retail sports betting, and online daily fantasy contests.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced the move that brought relief to the two leading operators in the nation.
What Did the Governor Say?
The Democratic governor said in a statement, “this short-term step allows for the continuation of fantasy sports in the Nutmeg State as we continue to move forward to modernize our gaming landscape in Connecticut.”
Lamont said that the State of Connecticut will have a competitive, and nation-leading model for betting both in-person and online, “thanks to our partnership with the Mohegan Tribe, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, and the Lottery.”
Provisional Licenses Granted at the Eleventh Hour
A spokesperson from the department confirmed that both tribes were granted provisional licenses, effective at midnight July 1. The licenses will expire on Sept. 30.
DraftKings had prior sports betting agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, while FanDuel does not currently have market access for Connecticut sports betting slated to launch this fall.
The provisional licenses were granted to both companies anyway.
Department of Consumer Protection issued a provisional license to MPTN CT Fantasy, LLC, owned by the Mashantucket Pequot to provide relief to its partner – DraftKings.
The other provisional license that helped FanDuel was granted to MGA Technology DFS, a wholly-owned affiliate of the Mohegan Tribe. It is yet to see whether the Mohegan Tribe expands its partnership with the New York-based operator for sports betting in Connecticut.
How Many DFS Companies Can Operate in Connecticut?
According to the department, only DraftKings and FanDuel are currently authorized to operate in the Nutmeg State, and any other company would require to enter into a contract with one of the tribal casinos or the lottery to operate fantasy sports in Connecticut.
The maximum number of mobile sportsbooks or DFS platforms that could operate in the state is three. The new legislation allows for mobile platforms through both tribes in addition to the Connecticut Lottery.
The lottery has yet to announce its sports betting or daily fantasy partner. However, PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy, and Bally’s-owned Monkey Knife Fight have all operated in Connecticut.
Disappointment For Other Stakeholders
Other companies – except DraftKings and FanDuel – now must enter into a contract with one of the tribal casinos or the lottery in order to stay relevant in the Connecticut fantasy sports market.
The decision brought gloom for Underdog Fantasy, PrizePicks, and Monkey Knife Fight, which had been operating before July 1.
A representative from the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association told a news site it is “disappointed Connecticut fantasy sports player will not be able to continue to play in many of the contests they’ve grown to love.”
The association, however, expressed hope that the state could find a solution to allow more operators to offer contests.
Meanwhile, the new law requires that the two fortunate companies pay what amount to back taxes to continue operating. Under this, the Boston-based DraftKings would have to pay $832,383, while FanDuel must pay $325,914.91.
Connecticut sports legalization now awaits a federal nod to the new tribal compact signed and approved by the governor in May.