Welcome to Connecticut! Connecticut residents now have two online casinos available to them. Both online casinos went live in the state on Oct. 19, 2021 after a soft-launch period.
Connecticut residents have a wide variety of games available to them. Both DraftKings and Mohegan Sun online casinos are permitted to offer online slot games like Divine Fortune, Starburst, and Cleopatra for big prizes. In addition, table games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat, Let It Ride, and other games you’ve seen in live settings will be available through your mobile device or computer. There will even be online poker options, though we are still waiting for those to launch.
In addition, you can expect to see welcome bonuses, which usually take the form of no deposit and deposit offers, and weekly or daily promos from CT online casinos. Welcome offers are terrific for kickstarting your play with the casino’s money, at least in part. The bottom line is that it’s an exciting time for gamblers in the Nutmeg State. Read on for all the latest about Connecticut online casinos.
Play casino games and bet on sports in Connecticut
UPDATED: April 14, 2022
Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, which operates one of the two legal online casinos in Connecticut, has updated its platform by integrating its Momentum program into the app. Momentum is MGE’s loyalty program.
Starting soon, players on the casino app will be able to earn points in the Momentum program. They can then redeem those points for experiences, hotel stays, and other options at MGE’s physical casinos across North America.
Are online casinos legal in Connecticut?
Yes, online casinos are legal in Connecticut. Online casinos launched to the general public on Oct. 19, 2021. Connecticut legalized online casinos, as well as online poker, and both online and retail sports betting. The two tribal casinos in the state are empowered to offer all of the above. Once everything does launch, however, Connecticuters will have their choice between two online casino apps. Those two apps are Mohegan Sun Casino (via Mohegan and FanDuel) and DraftKings (via Foxwoods).
Can I play slots online in Connecticut?
Yes! Online slots are the centerpiece of all online casino offerings in Connecticut. You can find all of the most popular games, including Divine Fortune, Starburst, Cleopatra, Siberian Storm, Wheel of Fortune, and Gonzo’s Quest. Expect to see both regular slot games and progressive jackpot slots.
Connecticut online casino apps
As we mentioned, Connecticut law allows for both of its federally recognized Native American tribes to offer online casino apps. The CT Lottery is not permitted to have an online casino, though it can offer online sports betting. Both tribes found partners that carry a lot of brand recognition for online gambling. The Connecticut online casino apps available include:
- DraftKings Casino
- Mohegan Casino
The online casino offering from DraftKings is not as well-known as its other businesses. The good news, though, is that DraftKings did not neglect the development of its casino app. The first thing to note is the sheer number of slot titles that you’ll find onsite. There are hundreds of them.
DraftKings Casino Connecticut also has a plethora of table games that you can experience. Blackjack, roulette, craps, casino war, Mississippi Stud, and baccarat are just a few of the more common titles you can find. There’s not just one option for each type of game, either. For instance, DK offers no fewer than two dozen different variations on blackjack alone. Many of these variants are simply changes to the theme — the underlying game stays the same — but others offer side bets or shifts in the way the game proceeds. So, table games players are unlikely to find themselves bored with their different options at DraftKings Casino.
The DraftKings app itself is serviceable, clean, and easy to use. The allure of this casino is not its flashy presentation or graphical interface. However, there’s plenty of reasons that DK can become your online casino of choice.
FanDuel Casino is the casino app that you would expect from one of the top sportsbook and daily fantasy sports providers in the world. It is skinned as Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. It is clean, easy to navigate, and has all the right pieces. Plus it works seamlessly with FanDuel Sportsbook with a shard wallet and accounts. There are many slot titles, progressive jackpot slots, and several table games that you can play at any time. Like other online casinos, there’s never any waiting for a particular game and the load times are extremely fast.
Mohegan Sun Casino is not going to overwhelm you in terms of style or game selection, but the site is perfectly functional. Though FanDuel has all the same types of games found on other sites, it usually does not have them in as many varieties, particularly in comparison to fellow online casino DraftKings. On the other hand, it is likely an online poker site will be available through the site’s integrated services in the near future, too. So, while Mohegan won’t blow you away with any particular attribute, it’s an easy-to-use app filled with a quality game library.
Best Connecticut online casino bonuses
Online casino bonuses are promotions that casino apps use to attract and retain players. Because the competition is only a few buttons away at all times, new online casinos have to come out of pocket a bit and reward customers for their play. In general, a Connecticut online casino bonus is paid out in one of two ways.
The first way is through site credits, or bonus dollars. Site credits mimic regular cash and can be used exactly the same way on the app. You’ll even see site credits pop up in your account balance. The only difference is that you cannot withdraw site credits. Instead, you have to convert them to dollars — more on this in a second. The other type of bonus award tends to be free bets. A free bet is a voucher for a wager of a predetermined amount. If you receive a free bet, you probably won’t see mention of it on the site unless you visit your account’s cashier or if you happen to attempt a bet in the denomination of the voucher. Free bets are indivisible, so there’s no reason not to bet their full amount if you receive one. Like site credits, it is not possible to cash out the value of a free bet.
Site credits and free bets come with strings attached — the playthrough requirement. A playthrough, or wagering, requirement is the mandated amount of wagering you must do on the site in order to release the value of your bonus money as regular cash. The requirement calls for you to bet a certain multiple of the bonus money amount, and the multiple can vary dramatically from bonus to bonus. Also, be careful to look at the time limit on the bonus, as redeeming a high multiple playthrough requirement might be difficult or impossible for you to accomplish in the given timeframe.
Now that we understand how bonuses reward you, let’s talk about the different bonuses you may encounter on Connecticut online casinos.
No deposit bonuses
May also appear as: Welcome bonus, New Player bonus, Free bonus
No deposit bonuses are great things because they allow you to play the casino for free. Typically, all you have to do in order to earn a no deposit bonus is to register for an account with the site. You may have to enter a promotional code. Either way, you will find an amount of site credits or free bet vouchers waiting for you in your newly-created account. Usually, these bonuses come with low playthrough requirements — 1x is the most common. There’s almost no reason to ignore a no deposit bonus.
May also appear as: Match bonus, Reload bonus
Deposit bonuses are probably the most common type of online casino bonus. They commit the app to match all or a portion of your deposit with extra site credits. The terms of each bonus vary, but they always specify a percentage of your deposit they’ll match (up to 100%) and the absolute amount of bonus money that you can receive. Generally, the terms are more favorable for new players. Deposit bonuses are the most notorious type of bonus for satisfying a playthrough requirement. If you see a deposit bonus offer that seems quite generous or expansive, make sure to read through the terms and conditions and confirm that you can achieve the advertised bonus without overextending your money or your time.
May also appear as: Insurance bonus, Risk-free bonus
Cashback bonuses are designed to alleviate the sting that is inevitably a feature of gambling. A Connecticut online casino app offers to compensate you for losses that you incur during a specific timeframe or on a specific type of wager or game. For example, FanDuel Casino offers new players a risk-free day of up to $1,000. Like deposit bonuses, cashback bonuses will compensate you for all or a portion of your losses up to a certain amount of bonus money. However, the first thing to know is that cashback bonuses only apply to net losses over the advertised period of time or bet. If you lose individual wagers but break even or come out ahead overall, you will receive no compensation. The second thing is that cashback will come as site credits, rather than pure cash, in most cases. So, you’ll almost always have to satisfy a playthrough requirement to get your money back. Thankfully, the requirements are usually no more than a single time through the bonus amount.
May also appear as: Rewards, Rewards program
A loyalty program is the only type of bonus common in both retail and online casinos. These programs allow you to earn points for every dollar that you wager. One group of points (tier credits) ranks you within the program’s ladder for classifying patrons. The more you spend, the higher you go on the ladder, and the more perks and benefits you receive. The other type of points is often redeemable at an exclusive store onsite or at the physical casino location. In either case, you can use your points to gain special discounts and access to amenities that you normally would not have. These programs are always free to join, so there’s no reason not to have a membership casually accruing points in the background.
May also appear as: Refer-a-friend
Competition is fierce, and sites want to incentivize players who bring their friends along. So, you can earn site credits or straight cash if you bring people to the site. Usually, they have to sign up and make a deposit before you can receive your bonus for the referral. However, if you have any friends who are going to make an account, anyway, then a referral bonus can be a nice little bump to your account balance without having to lift a finger.
How to sign up at Connecticut online casinos
So, now that you know that there is free money (of a sort) to be had at online casinos, you’re probably wondering how you can get your hands on some of it. Well, no matter which app you decide to visit, the procedure for getting started is largely the same. Here are the five steps to sign up at online casinos in Connecticut.
1. Choose your welcome bonus
The first thing to do is select one of our links above to Connecticut online casinos. Doing so will activate your device for receiving the best bonus possible. However, make sure to write any bonus codes we have listed, and take care to copy them completely accurately, as promo codes are both case-sensitive and typo-sensitive. Once you click the link, you will see buttons for both Android and Apple devices. Choose the appropriate link for your device, and continue.
We do need to mention something, however, in the interest of full disclosure. We make our money when you use our links above to sign up. However, we do not make anything based upon how much you play or bet. We are only interested in making sure that you give these apps a try and that you maximize your bonus money and goodies when you do.
2. Download and install the app
No matter what kind of phone or tablet you use, the procedure for getting your chosen casino app onto your device should be the same as any other type of app. Android users only have to press the “install” button to begin the process. Apple users will need to hit the “get” button. Regardless, the apps will attach themselves to your device like every other app you’ve ever downloaded. Once the app is fully installed, open it up, and proceed to the next step.
3. Register for a new account
You should find yourself on either a login page or in the app’s main lobby when you first open the app. If it’s the former, then look for a clickable phrase such as “register” or “sign up” to begin securing your new account. If it’s the latter, then look for a brightly-colored button in the top portion of the display. Be ready to enter the following information:
- Your full legal name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Mailing address
- Phone number
- Social Security number (or last four digits)
Rest assured that your information is completely safe with these sites; we do not recommend any sites that are anything short of licensed and compliant with all Connecticut regulations. If you have any questions whatsoever, you can always reach out to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection for assistance.
Finally, you will see an optional box for entering promotional or bonus codes. If there were none listed on our site, then you can ignore the box. However, if we have a promo code, enter it here. Be very careful to enter it exactly as we wrote it! You only get one shot at activating the bonus, and a single typo or misplaced capital letter could cause you to miss out.
4. Make your first deposit
Since it’s in the site’s best interests to make depositing as easy as possible for as many people as possible, you will invariably find a host of options to move money onto the site. Common methods for funding your account include:
- Credit cards/debit cards
- Electronic checks
- Electronic wallets like PayPal and Skrill
- Prepaid cards
- Online banking
- Wire transfers
There are even options for people who want to use cash, like PayNearMe or at the casino cage of the app’s partner. This last one is not a certainty, but choose the option that works best for you, and make sure to check with your financial institution(s) before you move forward with a particular method.
Most funding methods take very little time to process. So, once your account is loaded, it’s time to play! Look for tabs along the top of the app’s display in order to find your favorite games.
List of online casino games in CT
Now, you might be wondering exactly what favorite games of yours are available at Connecticut online casinos. After all, it’s hard to believe that an online app could replicate the experience you get at Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun. However, as the development of new technology continues to hum along, there are more and more casino games beautifully realized on your mobile device. You can find plenty of options for the following:
- Slots: The most common fixture in live casinos is the most common element of online casinos, too. Though they come in multiple varieties, they all function the same way at the end of the day — put in money, push the button or pull the lever, and hope that symbols line up. Online Titles: Divine Fortune, Cleopatra, Quick Hit series
- Blackjack: The classic card game has you racing the dealer to get as close to 21 without going over. There are a wide variety of side bets and variants of blackjack you can play for real money, but the core game is still the same as always. Online Titles: Poker & Pairs Blackjack, Multihand Blackjack, Super Fun 21 Extreme
- Video poker: Video poker often gets lumped together with slot machines, both physically and in terms of its classification as a game. However, the last holdout for five-card draw poker players combines both luck and some skill to make a game all its own. Depending on the type of video poker, you are tasked with making a hand of some value with five initial cards and one draw. Typically, you have to make a pair of jacks or better to win. Online Titles: Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Double Regal Poker
- Roulette: Aside from slot machines, no gaming device is more emblematic of gambling than the roulette wheel. Each bettor on this game can bet on any combination of numbers between 1 and 36, including 0 and/or 00. Then, a ball is spun around the eponymous wheel and lands randomly in a slot. Pick the right number, color, or section of the betting area, and you win. Online Titles: American Roulette, French Roulette
- Baccarat: Baccarat used to be the game of choice for James Bond before Daniel Craig decided that Texas hold’em made more sense. You will undoubtedly encounter the game in CT online casinos. Essentially, it’s a card game where all we care about is the ones column of each card’s value. Face cards are worth zero, and it’s a race between the “Banker” and the “Player” to get as close to 9 as they can. Online Titles: Baccarat Pro Series
Most other games that you will find online are variants of the games listed above. However, every game online comes with a link to its instructions, so don’t play until you understand how everything works.
Live dealer games in Connecticut
One last type of game you will encounter online are live dealer games. What live dealer games do, however, is blur the line between online and live casinos like never before. The game you play is conducted by an actual flesh-and-blood dealer. He or she runs the game as you watch and interact in real time on a dedicated feed. You can talk to the dealer or other players at the “table.” The broadcast occurs from a special studio onsite at the home casino of the app or, in some cases, on the casino floor itself.
There is no reason for Connecticut online casinos not to have live dealer games. To do so, studios would need to be built in order to comply with state and federal laws.
How online casino gambling works in Connecticut
Online casino gambling became legal in Connecticut in 2021, though no online casino has launched just yet. The legalization occurred as part of a larger gambling expansion in the state. A single bill, HB6451, made online casinos, online poker, online sports betting, retail sports betting, and daily fantasy sports legal activities in the Nutmeg State. However, the unique political situation in Connecticut meant that online casinos would not pop up in the state willy-nilly.
Instead, Gov. Ned Lamont was obliged to enter negotiations with the two casino-owning Native American tribes in the state, the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan. The two tribes exercise a duopoly over casino gambling in Connecticut. Even if state lawmakers wanted to cut them out or deny them a place at the table, the sheer amount of tax revenue that the tribes’ casinos, Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun, generate on an annual basis would render such an action impossible. So, iGaming in Connecticut was always going to involve the tribes, and as part of the agreements in March 2021, it is now the exclusive domain of the tribes (though sports betting will also be permitted through the lottery commission).
In return, the tribes will pay 18% of their gross gaming revenue in taxes on online casino gambling for the first five years of service. After that period, the percentage will increase to 20%. Although sports betting is set to proceed at a lower 13.75%, the overall profit potential for casino gambling made the higher rate acceptable to all parties. The tribes reached terms with partners (DraftKings and FanDuel), so Connecticuters have two choices for playing online casino games.
Connecticut online gambling FAQ
Is online gambling legal in Connecticut?
Yes. Online gambling is alive and well in Connecticut. A full launch of both the DraftKings and FanDuel-Mohegan casinos began on Oct. 19, 2021. In May 2021, the Connecticut Legislature approved the new tribal gaming compacts, paving the way for legal online casinos and poker sites in the state as well as sportsbook apps and a Connecticut online lottery.
With the addition of online casinos and online sportsbooks in Connecticut, residents and visitors to the state can also gamble on horse betting sites like TVG.
Who regulates gambling in Connecticut?
The Connecticut Gaming Division will oversee all aspects of gambling online. The Gaming Division, which is part of the Department of Consumer Protection, already maintains oversight over the legal forms of gambling in the state, and most states try to stick with the most experienced agencies for oversight when they craft new legislation.
What is the legal gambling age in Connecticut?
In order to play at one of Connecticut’s casinos, you must be 21 or older. However, 18-year-olds are allowed to play Connecticut’s lottery, pari-mutuel options, and sealed tickets (aka pull-tabs). Interestingly, there is no age requirement for bingo, raffles, or other charitable games.
Despite the fact that most gambling in Connecticut is accessible if you’re 18, it is quite likely that online gambling expansions, including sports betting, casinos and poker, would require players to be 21. Few other states have allowed play from patrons under the drinking age, and given the requirement present at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, there’s no reason to suspect Connecticut will buck the system.
Are Connecticut online casinos legit?
Yes, online casinos in CT are fully legit and safe to play. The Connecticut Gaming Division of the DCP regulates all aspects of online gambling in the state. This means that each site is verified to be safe, fair, and secure. A legit online casino will have feature either the DCP logo or note clearly that the site is “regulated by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.”
Any casino sites you find that accept players in CT and are not listed on PlayUSA or the DCP website are not legal and do not fall under the DCP’s rules or US laws for that matter. These sites are not legit and legal to play in Connecticut. For the most part, you are seeing betting options from sites and servers located outside the state of Connecticut and the United States itself. Playing on these sites means you are taking a large risk on site security, fairness, and trustworthiness.
How do online casinos work?
For the most part, online casinos work exactly like a retail casino and exactly like any other type of app. The navigation of an online casino app or website uses the same finger movements and swipes to move around the parts of the site that your device’s other programs use. The only difference, of course, is that you’re now using those motions to play casino games.
The primary differences between online casinos and in-person gambling venues are fairly obvious. For one thing, there aren’t any fellow gamblers around you when you gamble online (usually). You can play while you’re alone and not have to speak to anyone. Even if you head to a coffee shop to play, you’re still probably the only one putting money at risk as you sip your latte. Now, live dealer games are certainly blurring this distinction. However, the level of interaction through online casinos is still much lower than that of in-person casinos.
Another difference between online and live casinos is related to the first distinction, and that’s the availability of the games. Anyone who has been to a casino in person has experienced the slight-to-severe annoyance of waiting on an open seat to play. Online casinos have no such limitations with their games, and you can play any online game anytime you want.
Finally, online casinos are usually offering bonuses that you cannot find in a live setting. Because you are, in a sense, a captive audience in a physical casino, there’s usually less incentive for the powers that be to go out of their way to keep you happy. Even in casino-heavy areas like the Las Vegas Strip, casino owners know that it’s a long walk for you to gamble elsewhere. So, the only type of bonus you’ll usually see in the flesh are rewards programs. You’ll need to go online for the deposit bonuses, cashbacks, and no deposit bonuses.
What online casinos are available in Connecticut?
As of October 2021, two online casinos — DraftKings and Mohegan Sun — have set up shop in Connecticut. Any other online casinos you find active in Connecticut right now are based outside of the US. They are not licensed or regulated businesses inside Connecticut or anywhere else in the country. Because of this, they are not subject to the same business ethics, standards, and practices that regulators demand from homegrown online casinos. You could find yourself dealing with a site that does some very shady things, at least from our perspective.
Be smart — with legitimate options in Connecticut, there’s no need to put your identity and money at risk with an offshore site.
Can I play online poker in Connecticut?
Not yet. As mentioned with online casinos in Connecticut, the new law that passed both houses in Hartford does include the option for legal online poker sites as part of online gaming. However, online poker rooms are not available in Connecticut. Your only reasonable option in the state is a sweepstakes poker site. Luckily, Global Poker is a pretty good one. In fact, you can play Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Crazy Pineapple for real money prizes, and you don’t have to spend a dime. So, if you’re not wanting to make the trip to Foxwoods or the Mohegan Sun, you do have an option at your fingertips right now while you wait for legal Connecticut online poker.
Types of legal gambling in CT
Despite a rather restrictive overarching law, Connecticut actually has several types of legal gambling in the state. Even without online gambling, there are still plenty of options for placing some kind of wager. Remember, Connecticut retail and online sports betting is legal – but only retail betting has officially begun in the state, and only two of the many operators with a license have begun.
In the meantime, here are your options for legal gambling in Connecticut:
- Online and retail sports betting
- Online casino gambling
- Casino gambling
- Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, greyhound racing and jai alai
- Daily fantasy sports
- Charitable gaming, including raffles and bingo
Interestingly, the law makes a rather specific exemption for playing poker. It is legal to play poker in one’s home for cash “incidental to a bona fide social relationship.” How the state would qualify a social relationship as bona fide remains unclear, but for the most part, it means that you can play with your friends. However, if you’d prefer to play in a more professional setting, there are two massive poker rooms available at the state’s tribal casinos.
Casino locations in Connecticut
There are two massive casinos in the state. Both of them are tribally owned, and both have, at one time or another, been the largest casino properties in the United States.
|Casino Name||Address||Phone Number||Tribe||Live Poker?|
|Foxwoods Resorts Casino||350 Trolley Line Blvd., Ledyard, CT 06338||860-312-3000||Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation||Yes|
|Mohegan Sun||1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville, CT 06382||860-862-8000||Mohegan Tribe||Yes|
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the numerous off-track betting locations (OTBs) in CT. These properties allow Connecticut residents and visitors to place pari-mutuel wagers on horse races, greyhound races and jai alai matches around the country. While they are not full casinos by any stretch of the imagination, they are a legitimate venue for placing a wager in Connecticut.
All of the OTBs in Connecticut are owned and operated by Sportech PLC, and they are split between two different brands. The first, and more prominent of the two, are the Winners locations. These off-track betting sites look similar to many sportsbooks, with theater seating and massive television screens for viewing the races and jai alai. There are 14 Winners locations throughout Connecticut, although most of them are along the coast or clustered near Hartford.
The other two OTB locations are Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar. As the name implies, these venues are much more traditional sports bars than anything else. Although there is the race betting aspect to them, there are plenty of televisions displaying regional or national sports and a full-service menu of food and beverages.
Types of casino games
Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are full-service casino resorts. There are no prohibitions on games that they can offer, aside from sports betting, so you’ll find a multitude of the following options at both locations:
- Video poker
- Mini Baccarat
- Spanish 21
- Pai Gow Poker
- Pai Gow Tiles
- Let It Ride
- Criss Cross Poker
- Three Card Poker
- Jackpot Hold’em
- Four Card Poker
- Five Card Poker
- Wheel of Fortune
- Live poker
- Off-track betting
- Fusion Hybrid
- Play Arena
Many of these games are casino standards. However, two of these options are unique to Connecticut casinos and deserve special explanations:
FUSION HYBRID (MOHEGAN SUN)
Fusion Hybrid lets you play four different live table games at once. Using a specially designed touchscreen, you can rotate between the four options through brightly colored tabs and monitor each game’s outcome. It gives you the opportunity to ramp up the fun and the profit potential and works great for gamblers looking for a fast-paced experience. Fusion Hybrid is located in both the Casino of the Earth and the Casino of the Sky.
PLAY ARENA (FOXWOODS)
Play Arena is an area of the Great Cedar Casino that allows you to play up to three table games at once. The games are managed by a “dealertainer” at the front of the massive room, and the results of each game are displayed on a giant video wall behind the game runner. Play Arena places a special emphasis on the social and communal aspects of gambling, allowing you to play alongside your friends and fellow patrons. The arena appeals to both the eyes and the ears, and is the closest to replicating live dealer games online in real life.
Horse racing and dog racing
Horse racing has a long history in Connecticut. However, there are no live horse racing tracks in operation in the state at present. Live greyhound racing began in Connecticut in 1976. The Plainfield Greyhound Park opened that year and quickly became a favorite destination for bettors. However, after the casinos opened in the 1990s its popularity declined, and it closed in 2005.
In 1995 a second dog racing track, the Shoreline Star Greyhound Park, opened in Bridgeport. It enjoyed a period of popularity as well as a place for betting on greyhound races and jai alai simulcasts. But Shoreline also closed in 2006. Thus while betting on dog racing remains legal in Connecticut, there are no live tracks in the state.
Those wishing to bet on either horse racing or greyhound racing are still able to do so in Connecticut via off-track betting (OTB). This type of pari-mutuel betting became legal in 1976. Originally, the Division of Special Revenue operated OTB in the state. Then, in 1993, the DSR sold the operations to Autotote Enterprises, which continues to run OTB in the state to this day.
There are currently 15 OTB parlors scattered throughout the state, all operated by Sportech. Bettors can visit the OTB locations or bet online via Sportech’s MyWinners.com site. The site offers legal betting on thoroughbred, harness and greyhound races as well as on jai-alai.
Popular out-of-state OTB operators like TVG, BetAmerica and TwinSpires also accept customers from Connecticut. They also offer CT bettors the ability to bet on both horse racing and greyhound racing.
History of gambling in Connecticut
Connecticut has a long and varied history with gambling. Although it is similar to other states in some aspects, there are bits of flair that lend gambling in the state its own distinct twist. In other words, you are unlikely to see a history of gambling identical to Connecticut’s anytime soon.
At present, there are tribal casinos, off-track betting parlors, a state lottery, and a variety of charitable games available for play. You can also take part in daily fantasy sports, if you like. Because of Connecticut’s small land area, none of its gambling facilities are terribly far away from one another. Even players from the other sides of the state, in places like Salisbury or Stamford, are no more than a couple hours’ drive from either of the massive casinos in Connecticut. The other types of gambling are even closer by, no matter where you are, so Connecticut residents are not hurting for meaningful gaming options.
- 1939: The first bit of legal gambling comes to Connecticut in the form of bingo. As is often the case, the game’s legalization is designed to give nonprofit organizations a means of fundraising. Interestingly, Connecticut is one of only a few states not to attach a gambling age onto bingo. Other charitable gambling options follow in the ensuing decades, with raffles gaining acceptance in 1955 and pull-tabs, known as “sealed tickets,” in 1997. Nonprofits also had a period between 1972 and 2003 where they could offer casino nights, but concerns from interest groups led to the repeal of that option.
- 1972: However, one 1972 product is still alive and well. The year of Watergate also features the debut of the Connecticut Lottery, which offers $0.50 tickets for a chance at a $5,000 grand prize. Lottery tickets are only available through retail outlets and lottery ticket vending machines in the state. Players now have their choice between traditional lottery games, multistate drawings, scratch-offs, fast play games and keno with the Connecticut Lottery.
- 1976: Off-track betting begins as a legal option in Connecticut. The launch coincides with the debut of greyhound racing at Plainfield Greyhound Park and jai alai frontons in Bridgeport and Hartford. Horseracing also becomes legal, although there has never been a track in the state. The inclusion and prominence of jai alai in the betting offerings is unusual for a US state. Only Florida and Rhode Island have offered anything similar at any point in their histories. However, pari-mutuel betting in Connecticut now exists solely as an off-track betting activity. All the tracks and frontons have since closed.
- 1992: Though it first begins as a bingo parlor in 1986, Foxwoods Casino Resort opens in earnest in 1992. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation enjoys a monopoly over casino gambling for four years, and the 344,000 square feet of casino space qualifies the new facility as the world’s largest casino until 1996. The resort remains one of the biggest casinos in the world to this day and features more than 2,200 hotel rooms and 14 restaurants onsite. It is also one of the few locations in Connecticut to allow smoking in some areas indoors.
- 2017: Two major pieces of gambling legislation come to pass in 2017. The first new law received the governor’s signature in July and, incredibly, directs the state government to establish policies for sports betting. The passage of this bill is particularly noteworthy due to the fact that sports betting remained illegal at the federal level for another year beyond its enactment. However, despite the legislative foresight, sports betting has not launched in the state to this point. The second bit of legislation is the DFS bill. Far from some sort of mincing reference, the law establishes an explicit framework for fees and taxation on approved DFS companies in the state. Thus, DFS players in Connecticut can play as often as they want without any fear of legal repercussions or interference.
- 2021: Although it’s still in the process of being written, there’s no denying that 2021 is an historic year for gambling in Connecticut. HB6451 made the development of online casinos, online poker rooms, online sportsbooks, retail sportsbooks, and a daily fantasy sports free-for-all possible in the Nutmeg State. Connecticut casinos and state officials are set to capitalize on the mobile wagering of both its citizens and visitors from nearby states, including New York City. Barring any kind of major hiccup, gambling revenue is only going to climb in Connecticut in the future.