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to the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to set up a regulatory framework for sports betting should the PASPA be repealed.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.