After the soft launch of online sports betting in the American state of Connecticut back in October, it appears that the initial phase of the regulated gambling rollout project has been a success. Around 1.2 million transactions were recorded in Connecticut during the first week of regulated online sports gambling, pushing the state ahead of many other, better-established gambling jurisdictions for the same time period.
The public response to the soft launch was an immense one. Surges in public interest from within the state, and from beyond its borders, saw Connecticut climb high on nationwide rankings. Even before the full rollout began, Connecticut had reached ninth place on the list of states with the highest rate of online sports betting traffic. This meant Connecticut placed ahead of Colorado in October — despite Colorado having a significantly greater population.
Building Upon Interest from Neighboring New York
Early analysis suggests that Connecticut’s position on the Eastern Seaboard has made it a prime location for regulated online sports betting and online casino gambling. Located next to New York, Connecticut is well within reach of gamblers within the nearby Empire State, who currently do not have a regulated sports betting industry in their own state. Traditionally, New Yorkers have looked to New Jersey to provide them with iGaming and betting options. Now, Connecticut offers another alternative.
Data from GeoComply seems to support this. GeoComply’s figures show that 38% of betting activity during this soft launch period came from Connecticut’s southwest, with a substantial proportion taking place along the Interstate 95 highway. This is a prime point of connection between the state and neighboring New York. The data also found that other highway entry points along Connecticut’s western border — the border with New York state — have become gambling hotspots.
Some Concern About the Future of Regulated Online Betting in the State of Connecticut
Regulated online betting continues its rollout across the United States. While the success of the soft launch in Connecticut bodes well for other similar successes across the country, the progress of regulatory change in the United States as a whole is cause for concern in CT. This is because New York itself looks likely to implement its own regulated online gambling provisions starting from early 2022.
This would immediately remove the need for New Yorkers along the border to cross into Connecticut to enjoy online gaming and other gambling capabilities. In turn, this is likely to dent the revenue Connecticut receives from its own gambling rollout, eliminating a large portion of the state’s gambling consumers.
However, this rollout in New York is still likely to be several months off, giving Connecticut some breathing space. As it stands, Connecticut can look upon its soft launch as a major success after generating some much-needed revenue for the state. In order to prepare for the long-term future of regulated gambling, the state’s gambling providers now need to press home their advantage, fostering a sustainable and responsible gambling market within its own borders.