Soft launch of statewide online sports betting in CT now live


Conn. (WTNH) — A soft opening of the statewide online sports wagering is now live.

The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) notified the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, Mohegan Tribe, and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Friday that they can begin their seven-day soft launch period at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

For the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, the scope of the soft launch will be limited to wagering by 750 people organically chosen directly through the online platform. 

Greg Smith, the CEO of the Connecticut Lottery, explained, the participants were limited “so the system can be properly evaluated for working right, and meeting the regulatory requirements so that everybody has a good first experience.”

Online sports wagering will be limited during certain times of the day during the soft launch period. 

Those hours are 3-11 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 12 p.m.-11:59 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, then running on a 24-hour cycle through the rest of the soft launch period. 

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Smith added, “Similar to the difficulty of when online would start, we need to get our approvals on that and my hope is that within a couple of days.”

For the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes, online casino gaming shall be limited to the games approved by DCP as of the start of the soft launch period, which is more than 100 games. The soft launch does not include live dealer or peer-to-peer online casino games. Online wagering will be limited to the same hours as are listed above during this period.

“We appreciate the hard work of our licensees and their teams, as well as the team at DCP, for their diligence in ensuring these platforms are compliant with the regulations approved by the legislature,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “As long as no issues arise, we have told the licensees they may move forward with the seven-day soft launch required in the regulations. Once the soft launch is complete, online gaming will open statewide.” 

DCP said FanDuel, DraftKings, and Rush Street Interactive can now begin establishing accounts for the 750 individuals that will take part in the soft launch.

The State estimates online sports betting will generate about $30 million dollars for the state. But the Connecticut Lottery says with the pandemic, that number may be low as they are coming off a record year.

“We had a fantastic fiscal 2021 and grew up to $418 million in profit,” Smith said. “Sales are still going very well now, so we are on a pace to be close to that. “

And sports bars like Shay’s in Manchester can’t wait for online betting, they say with the enthusiasm and anticipation from customers, they believe the $30 million number is low as well.

Jack Maloney, owner of Shea’s Pizzeria and Sports Bar said, “I think it is actually going to pay out a lot more than what they originally projected. They are underestimating the numbers that they are going to do,“

So right now it’s one day at a time with sports betting. The state says they will get there, they just have to make sure they do it right as they roll it out.

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