ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH) — The expansion of sports gaming in Connecticut is underway.
The state has issued temporary licenses for daily fantasy sports but those are only active with the state’s two tribal casinos right now.
There is another player in the game. News 8’s Chief Political Correspondent Jodi Latina sat down with the Chair of the CT Lottery for this exclusive.
“We are hopeful to get something done in the next couple of weeks and have an announcement,” Rob Simmelkjaer revealed.
Both tribal casinos in the state have teamed up with fantasy sports giants. Foxwoods partnered with DraftKings. Mohegan Sun partnered with FanDuel.
The lottery is in final negotiations with a popular fantasy sports operator.
CT Lottery is not allowed to use any of the casino brands. Simmelkjaer says 15 vendors submitted requests for qualifications.
The list was whittled down to seven in a request for proposal. All were asked for the best and final offers and after a week of clarifying questions — all were asked to resubmit plans.
So who is the winner?
“They are a very well established company that has been very successful in a number of states around the country when it comes to both sports betting which is what we are partnering with them on as well as other sorts of gaming as well. So we are very excited,” Simmelkjaer said.
The new gaming law allows the Department of Consumer Protection to grant temporary licenses for fantasy contests off the tribal reservations.
DraftKings paid the state more than $800,000.
FanDuel paid more than $300,000 for past operations.
All of this comes as a result of an agreement reached between the Lamont administration and the tribes allowing them and the Connecticut Lottery to offer online gaming and sports wagering.
The lottery will also have 15 brick and mortar betting outlets.
Simmelkjaer says the state’s quasi-public CT Lottery paved the way for gaming back in 1972.
“In a lot of ways we are the original gaming company in the state.”
CT Lottery, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, has contributed $10 billion to the state since it started.
Online gaming and sports wagering can begin when the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs gives final approval.
Simmelkjaer says they’ll be contributing to the problem gambling programs like the two state’s tribes and they will be trying to win the gaming market.
“We’ll certainly be competing with the tribes in this new area.”
It’s conceivable that the sports betting company CT Lottery chooses will also be their partner on I-Lottery.
The temporary licenses will expire at the end of September. Permanent licenses will need to be issued.