Connecticut Online Gambling & Sports Betting Oct. Launch – Everything To Know So Far

Posted By Derek Helling on September 27, 2021 - Last Updated on October 13, 2021

There’s a lot happening with gambling in Connecticut. Residents and visitors are eager to know when they can legally begin partaking in their preferred kind of gambling.

The fact is, retail sports betting, online sports betting and online casinos are all currently rolling out in Connecticut but in different ways and with different debut plans. Before getting to some FAQ, let’s first look at the most anticipated: mobile sports betting in Connecticut, which is underway – sort of.

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the three authorized operators initiated a soft launch ahead of what they expect to be a simultaneous full launch as soon as Oct. 19.

Connecticut sports betting starts its invite-only trial run

DraftKings, FanDuel, and Rush Street Interactive are live in a limited customer and hours capacity in Connecticut. Once the “soft” launch concludes, presumably in a week, full state-wide mobile sports betting could be available.

Over the next few days, CT residents who the sportsbooks invited to try out their platforms will get to do so. For other Connecticutters, that means their turns could come up before Week 7 of the current NFL season.

Remember that although retail sportsbooks at Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino are accepting wagers from all eligible bettors right now (more on that below), the online components are only available to a limited audience right now. The three CT sports betting apps are:

Each sportsbook gets to invite up to 750 people to take part in the soft launch. There’s no way to request access. You either get an invite from one of the books or you have to wait until they go live to the general public.

Right now, regulators aim to make that happen on Tuesday. The chances are pretty good, as these companies are quite experienced in offering online sports betting in many other jurisdictions. The best-case scenario right now looks like the apps will launch fully sometime that evening.

Currently, the sportsbooks aren’t sharing much information about what if any sign-up and/or deposit bonuses they might offer to new customers in CT. However, those details should be forthcoming as the date approaches.

While the majority of the population waits for the full launch, there’s naught wrong with looking ahead to what sporting events are on the calendar for Oct. 19. Here’s a sampling of what you’re likely to find action on that evening.

A look ahead at the sports calendar for Connecticut’s expected Oct. 19 mobile betting launch

While a Tuesday might not seem like the ideal day for a launch, there’s actually plenty of action that should be available to wager on. It just happens to be the opening night of the 2021-22 NBA season, for one thing. The Brooklyn Nets will visit the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Other events throughout the day include:

  • 11 NHL games including Vancouver Canucks at Buffalo Sabres
  • MLB playoffs: Game 4 of the ALCS and Game 3 of the NLCS
  • WTA Tenerife Ladies Open and VTB Kremlin Cup 2021

Of course, you’ll be able to get in on weekly college football and NFL lines then as well. On the college side, however, all in-state teams are off the board. That means you won’t find odds on UConn or Yale games on any of these apps.

Still, the rest of the college and the entire NFL slate will be up for your consideration. Highlights of that will include:

  • No. 12 Oklahoma State at Iowa State, Saturday, Oct. 23
  • No. 9 Oregon at UCLA, Oct. 23
  • USC at No. 14 Notre Dame, Oct. 23
  • New York Jets at New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 24
  • Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans, Oct. 24
  • Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens, Oct. 24

The wide array of options for CT bettors are just a few days away, provided this soft launch goes well. Just the fact that it’s ongoing is a great sign for the future.

When is Connecticut online gambling launching?

As far as online casino games, it still looking uncertain that they will actually be widely available to the public on Oct. 19.

Full state-wide mobile sports betting is another thing, however. It’s slated to begin on Oct. 19.

The three entities behind online sports betting in the Nutmeg State are the usual suspects. As mentioned above, the two tribal casino operators – the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe – will both offer it. Additionally, the Connecticut Lottery will have its own platform.

There won’t be a Lottery-powered online casino product, however. The tribal casinos retain exclusivity in that category in CT. So, which casino and sportsbook brands are available?

Which online casino and sportsbook operators are launching in Connecticut?

The Lottery and tribal casinos have partnered with some of the biggest brands in online gambling in the country. For Connecticut sports betting, the relationships are:

Through its agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot, DraftKings Casino will also be available in CT. FanDuel will also create an online casino platform for the Mohegan Tribe but it will bear the Mohegan Sun branding. It’s uncertain right now how different from or similar that will be to the Mohegan’s own online casino platform it currently operates in other places like New Jersey.

For those who prefer an in-person sports betting experience, that’s on its way as well, with the same parties involved. The details of those situations are the murkiest right now, though.

What about retail sportsbooks in Connecticut?

As stated, there is a retail DraftKings Sportsbook at Foxwoods Casino. By the same token, the Mohegan Sun Casino (pictured above) has a brick-and-mortar FanDuel Sportsbook. Both are open; FanDuel plans to run in a temporary location while the renovations for the permanent digs are underway.

The new law in CT also allows the Lottery to operate up to 15 retail sports betting locations throughout the state. The Lottery has yet to announce where any of those will be. It is actively looking for spots, however, and the state’s densest population centers likely have an upper hand.

All the Lottery’s brick-and-mortar components will also bear SugarHouse branding. It isn’t clear what other amenities the locations will offer but the retail sportsbooks inside the tribal casinos will feature the usual components of multiple viewing screens, customer seating, plus beverage and food service.

What is the legal gambling age in CT?

CT law says you must be at least 21 years of age to legally gamble. That applies not only to retail sports betting but online casino and sportsbook play as well.

Can I gamble anywhere in Connecticut?

Another requirement is that you must physically be somewhere within the state’s borders when you place your wagers.

While CT residents and visitors will largely decide for themselves which sportsbook brands they use, their location will matter greatly in this regard. There are important geofencing restrictions for future bettors to note.

If you’re gambling online, exactly where you are in the state matters as well. This is pertinent in regards to the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan sovereign lands. Those areas will be geofenced and access to the casino/sportsbook brands restricted therein.

In those areas, you’ll only have full access to their partners’ platforms. While you’re on the Mohegan reservation, for example, you’ll only be able to bet on FanDuel. While you’ll be able to open the other apps and browse the lines if you like, neither DraftKings nor SugarHouse will accept a wager from you until you’re off Mohegan lands.

The same applies to the Mashantucket Pequot’s territory. As long as you’re there, your only choice to play real money online casino games in Connecticut or bet on a sporting event will be DraftKings. If you’re on non-tribal lands anywhere else in the state, you’ll have access to all three online sportsbooks and both online casinos.

That’s really the only unique wrinkle to CT online gambling. Whenever it fully begins, everything will be pretty standard, including the process of registering an account with the new online platforms, for example.

How to register for Connecticut online gambling

It’s important to note that out of the three online gambling platforms, only SugarHouse is already accepting account registrations for use in CT. (That is, for anyone not invited to play during the testing period.) The other two sportsbooks could begin soon, however. All that’s remaining is an announcement from the operators.

When the time comes, you will be able to complete the entire registration process on your computer or phone. Just visit the website or download one or all of these apps: DraftKings, FanDuel, Connecticut Lottery. Then, follow the sign-up prompts. You’ll need to supply the gaming companies with the following information so they can verify your eligibility:

  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Last four digits of your Social Security Number
  • Legal name
  • Mailing address

Some apps will allow you to expedite that process by simply uploading a picture of your government-issued ID like a driver’s license. New customers in CT will likely receive some special bonuses from these operators. The details of those potential offers are still unknown, however.

When this all rolls out, it will make the state one of the most open in the country for legal online gambling. There’s one component of that landscape that residents might still be wondering about, though.

Is online poker in Connecticut?

While DraftKings Casino and the FanDuel-powered Mohegan Sun casino will probably feature several variants, the launches of popular online poker brands like WSOP and Partypoker aren’t imminent in CT. What gives?

Essentially, online poker isn’t part of the new gaming compacts. The Mashantucket Pequot have said they are open to an amendment to enable it under their auspices. However, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency to make it happen.

Right now, all interested parties are working to get this gambling expansion off the ground, with more announcements expected any day.

Photo by Mary Altaffer / Associated Press
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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