Online sports betting has arrived in the State of Connecticut. In October 2021, the east coast state launched online sports gambling for the first time, opening up a potential new market for iGaming providers. However, the roll-out of online betting is expected to be a slow and steady one.
October’s inauguration of online gambling in the Nutmeg State is simply a soft launch. This first phase of the roll-out is limited to three betting providers — FanDuel, DraftKings, and Rush Street Interactive — each permitted to serve 750 customers. In accordance with the changed regulations, providers have contracted with the Connecticut state lottery, the Mohegan Sun Casino and the Foxwoods Casino.
These are not the only limitations imposed on the launch. Michelle Seagull, commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection, announced that the soft launch began at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, October 12, and would be allowed to run for 8 hours only on the first day of operation. However, she also reported that a planned expansion to 24-hour operation was expected to begin by Friday of the same week.
A Gradual Easing of Restrictions
The federated nature of online gambling laws in the United States means that each individual jurisdiction is permitted to operate its own regulations and restrictions. In accordance with this, the State of Connecticut is seeking to carefully control the roll-out, ironing out any flaws and problems ahead of a larger-scale launch in the future.
Commissioner Seagull explained that the arrangements between Connecticut’s tribal partners and local government is a carefully structured one, and gambling operators are required to demonstrate the benefit they offer to the community through taxation contributions. To ensure this, she said, “We want to make sure we understand how those [online gambling] revenue reports would work.
“If there’s little glitches along the way, we would expect to work with them so it’s a really smooth opening when it opens up for the rest of the state,” she added.
A Positive Future for Gambling Providers in the State
It is hoped that a shift towards regulated online gaming will help to secure more jobs in the state’s casinos as well as increase the tax revenue Connecticut receives from gaming. Mohegan Tribal Chairman James Gessner described how pivoting towards an online model is helping casinos to become more resilient and robust in the modern age, as consumers expect to not have to travel to place sports wagers and bets. “It’s exciting,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that casinos and similar organizations implement measures to reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. This includes encouraging staff and consumers to remain at home in the event that they display symptoms or test positive.
Undoubtedly, this will make life difficult for physical casino operators, who rely on consumer traffic to support their businesses. A successful online gambling roll-out in Connecticut will certainly go some way to protecting these businesses in the future, throughout the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.