HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Online sports wagering and online casino games fully launched in Connecticut on Tuesday morning.
Three organizations — the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, the Mohegan Tribe (Mohegan Sun), and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe (Foxwoods Resort Casino) — began offering online sports betting at 6 a.m. Tuesday to all adults age 21 and older.
Betting will take place through the organizations’ respective partners: Rush Street Interactive, FanDuel, and DraftKings. Each was limited to an initial 750 patrons during last week’s soft launch.
“Nothing short of historic. As of this morning at 6 a.m., the first bet was actually placed on the National League Championship Series,” said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
Both tribes are allowed to also offer “iCasino” games to players age 21 and older. FanDuel, which is partners with Mohegan Sun, has been approved by state regulators to offer 130 games while DraftKings, which has teamed up with Foxwoods, has been approved to offer 163 games so far.
“Connecticut has proven to be a leader when it comes to the gaming economy going back decades, and that legacy will continue with the launch of these new online options for all eligible residents,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “I am very proud to say that I placed the first legal, in-person sports wager in our state’s history just two weeks ago, and I encourage those who want to participate in placing wagers to do so, responsibly.”
Lamont signed legislation in May legalizing sports wagering and online gambling after years of debate and failed negotiations with the state’s two federally recognized tribal nations, who have exclusive rights to certain forms of gambling in Connecticut.
The first in-person bet was placed by the governor at Mohegan Sun last month. Then came a week-long “soft launch” of online gaming. The head of Draft Kings, Foxwood’s online partner, says that worked fine, and now the betting is open to everyone 21 and older.
“This includes people traveling into the state of Connecticut, as well. So if you are right around the border, or you are taking a special trip into Connecticut, the product will be available while you are within the state border,” said Matt Kalish, Draft King’s president, and co-founder.
It’s not just sports wagering. Dozens of casino games are also online. The folks at Foxwoods say it will only add to casino revenue.
“It really expands the ecosystem of gaming and the combination of in-person and online just extends that experience,” Butler said.
The apps make sure players are over 21 and in Connecticut, so there may be some verification delays. If you worry you’ll gamble too much, the apps let you put daily limits, or you can opt out entirely. The folks running the apps say they are always on the lookout for problem gambling as well.
“We are also able to, proactively, sort of detecting when there might be some anomalous betting behavior, like something that doesn’t appear healthy, and take action,” Kalish said.
The state’s new law allows the lottery to also offer online keno and online lottery tickets, but those plans have not yet been approved by the Department of Consumer Protection. Players 18 years and older will be allowed to play those games, as well as fantasy sports contests, which all three operators can offer.
Greg Smith, the president and CEO of the Connecticut Lottery said, “Very nice development opportunities for us and expansion of responsibilities. And so, we’ve got 50 years of experience at selling lottery tickets in
retail settings, and thousands of them. Now we’ve got this new product. Retail and online and different vendors that we are operating with.”
Down the road, they’re looking to add sports betting kiosks in SporTech venues in the state. Smith called this shift “a great business experience” for the company to go through.
There is lots of help available for anyone who does have a gambling problem. Information about gaming in Connecticut is available at ct.gov/gaming. Information on services available in Connecticut for those who may have a problem with gambling is available at portal.ct.gov/problemgaming.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.