Connecticut Sports Betting Guide
Unlike casino gaming, locals in Connecticut haven’t had a lot of luck with sports betting. Casino games fans have tribal casinos like the Mohegan Sun Casino and the Foxwoods Resort with thousands of options, from slot machines to the table and card games. Players interested in betting on sporting activities only have the option of placing wagers on horses at one of the many off-track betting facilities in the state.
Lawmakers have been trying to push for the legalization of other sports games for ages, but the tribe state compacts on exclusivity have always been in the way. Connecticut is likely to move towards a legislation of sports betting and follow the example of New Jersey, Indiana and other states that have already legalized online sports betting. Read our exclusive breakdown today to better understand the state of sports betting in Connecticut.
Sports Betting in Connecticut: A Brief History
The 1970s to 2000s
After bingo was legalized in 1939, it took a couple of decades before betting on any form of sports was formally accepted in Connecticut. It wasn’t until 1971 when horse racing and off-track betting activities became lawfully accepted in the state. A year later, in 1972, betting on dog racing and Jai Alai was legalized as well.
A proposed horse track by the name Connecticut Park was to be constructed in Wolcott but later canceled in the late ‘70s after the responsible state authorities failed to approve it. Nonetheless, state-mandated off-track betting operations officially took off in 1976 and the Plainfield Greyhound Park also opened in the same year. Jai Alai frontons, on the other hand, were opened in 1976 as well in Bridgeport and Hartford with another one at Milford one year later.
Unfortunately for sports enthusiasts, however, the first two frontons were closed down in 1995 and the remaining one followed suit in 2001. The greyhound racing parks stayed popular for a little longer, but they suffered the same fate in 2005. And with such bombshells, state-operated off-track betting (OTB) had to make adjustments if it was to stay afloat.
In 1993, the OTB enterprise exchanged hands from the state to a private firm by the name Autotote Corp. Close to two decades later in 2010, Sportech bought the Connecticut OTB franchise from Autotote. Since then, Sportech has been at the helm of the enterprise to date with 16 off-track locations under the Winners brand. On top of that, Sportech also holds an exclusive advanced deposit wagering license for horse racing betting, awarded by the state in 2012
2017 to Present
Once again, the expansion of sports betting in Connecticut stalled. It was not until 2017 when lawmakers started pushing for expansion in anticipation of the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Act of 1992. In June 2017, the Senate approved HB6948 to grant Sportech licenses to launch eight more OTB locations in the state. The then Governor, Malloy, okayed HB6948 as well, which also gave direction to the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to set up a regulatory framework for sports betting should the PASPA be repealed.
For the 2018-19 budget in Connecticut, Daily Sports Betting had an advantage as Governor Dannel Malloy worked towards authorizing it in the state. This was under the conclusion that daily fantasy sports betting contests are not games of chance but games of skill. The Commissioner of Consumer Protection set up a 10% annual licensing fee of the gross wins, not exceeding $15,000 and a tax levy of 10.5% of the gross wins. However, before enactment, the state tribes have to approve the DFS proposals. The main tribes in Connecticut, Mashantucket Pequot, and Mohegan Sun tribes are federally recognized by the state and play a big part in the regulation of gambling laws.
What are the Current Sports Betting Laws in Connecticut?
The laws concerning sports betting are under continuous review, and proposed bills were yet to be approved by the end of the legislative sessions in 2019. While the state had put sports betting laws in place for approval before the United States Supreme Court repealed PASPA, it has yet to legalize sports betting. So, even after the PASPA was repealed in 2018, no strides have been made to legalize sports betting officially.
This can be attributed to the fact that the Connecticut legislature adjourned days before the repeal and was therefore not able to follow through on the legalization of sports betting at the time. Nonconformity from Native American tribes also plays a significant role in holding the authorization back. This is because they hold a monopoly in Connecticut owing to compacts with the state giving them exclusivity on Class III games of which sports betting falls. Even with federal laws permitting sports betting in America, Connecticut seems to focus more on opening new casinos as opposed to authorizing sports betting.
Sports Wagering in Connecticut
As mentioned above, the Governor approved HB6948 that would allow for sports betting in July 2017, but the Bill was not approved. That said, the only operator is Sportech with an exclusive license for land-based betting on interactive horse and greyhound racing, which is legal and one of the main product offerings in casinos in Connecticut.
Interactive Sports Betting
Considering its progressive gambling laws, Connecticut does not show much promise in legalizing online sports betting any time soon. However, several Bills have been proposed and will be taken into consideration in the coming years. As of now, residents of Connecticut cannot place online wagers on any form of sports, though offshore operators accept players from the state.
Daily Fantasy Sports
DFS betting has not been addressed in length by the state because the tribes are yet to approve the proposals to date. However, offshore operators like the DraftKings and FanDuel, which are some of the biggest operators in the world, continue to accept players from Connecticut.
Horse and Greyhound Racing
Horse and greyhound race betting is legal in Connecticut via off-track betting locations operated by Sportech as well as the two tribal casinos in the state. In addition to this, off-track pari-mutuel betting is also allowed on horse racing. Interactive Advanced Deposit Wagers are also permitted on horse racing.
Which are the Main Casinos in Connecticut?
The only casinos in the state are Mashantucket Pequot Casino and the Mohegan Sun Casino, which are both tribal casinos. The two main native tribes hold an exclusive monopoly on slots machines, which makes their casinos quite profitable. If sports betting and interactive gambling were to be authorized, they would probably be the first to offer retail sportsbooks. For now, however, residents of Connecticut who would like to bet on sports will have to do with horse racing and greyhound race betting.
Facts About Sports Betting in Connecticut
|Federally Recognized Tribes||Mashantucket Pequot, Mohegan|
|Gambling Age||21+ for Casinos and Slot Machines,|
18+ for Lottery, Pari-mutuel, Charity and Pull Tabs
|Taxation||3.5% of all in-state off-track wagers, excluding ADW|
|Regulatory Body||Connecticut Division of Special Revenue|
|Key Legislation||Connecticut General Statutes (Sections 52-553)|
|Interactive Sports Betting||Not permitted.|
|Horse & Greyhound Racing Betting||Interactive Advanced Deposit is allowed|
|Exclusive Licensees for off-track land-based horse and Greyhound race betting||Sportech and the state’s two tribal casinos (Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods Resort Casino)|
What does the future hold for sports betting in Connecticut?
Seeing as tribal casinos continue to dominate the gambling industry, sports betting laws may be held back for a while. This is because the state has to consider the tribal compacts and their exclusivity rights. Online sports betting will also suffer the same fate considering that offshore operators have been continuously trying to penetrate the state’s gambling industry without much progress.
Most states have at least approved daily fantasy sports betting, and this could have been the case in Connecticut as lawmakers and already approved DFS betting under the idea that they are not games of chance, but games of skill. However, before the tribes okay these proposals, the operations cant commence.
While the law does not permit sports betting, offshore gaming operators continue to accept Connecticut locals until all the parties involved come to an agreement about how they will proceed. If the tribes aren’t satisfied with the tabled bills, locals will be kept waiting for the better part of 2020 and beyond.