Welcome to Connecticut!
Connecticut gambling may be the best example of quality over quantity in the US. Though the state is home to only two tribal casinos, both locations are exceptionally large full-service resorts. Each venue welcomes millions of non-Connecticut residents every year, making the state a bona fide gambling destination in its own right.
However, these two properties are not the only casinos in Connecticut. There are many ways to place a wager in the Nutmeg State, and we have information on all of them. The sections below should give you plenty of data for planning your next trip to the 48th-largest state.
Best of all, Connecticut plans to join the sports betting and online gambling world sometime in 2021. Connecticut online casinos are in the plan alongside online sportsbooks, poker sites, and an online lottery. When that happens, we will have information about how to capitalize on bonuses and other perks. Read on for all the latest news and information about Connecticut casino gambling and sweepstakes sites.
Is online gambling legal in Connecticut?
No, Connecticut does not offer any licensed casinos or gambling sites… yet. Online gambling is coming to Connecticut, though, and soon. 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. Once the compacts are approved at the federal level, regulations and rules will be promulgated before any online casino launch happens. It is likely that sportsbooks will launch before online casinos, but Connecticut could also go the way of Michigan online gambling and launch everything at once.
Until then, there are a few options that are legal. For one thing, playing on sweepstakes sites is perfectly acceptable so long as the sites in question remain in the good graces of Connecticut sweepstakes law. Even though sites like Chumba Casino, Global Poker, and Funzpoints are largely indistinguishable from actual casino sites, they operate in a very specific manner to remain legal entities.
Another option for online gambling in Connecticut is betting on horse races. Sites like TVG will take bets from residents and visitors in CT. These options work well if you cannot make it to one of Connecticut’s numerous off-track betting shops.
ARE ONLINE CASINOS LEGAL IN CONNECTICUT?
Not quite yet. Online casinos are part of the May 2021 bill (HB6451) that recently passed both houses and awaits Gov. Ned Lamont’s signature and federal approval. So it is official-ish.
For now, legal online casino play is available through the various sweepstakes sites active in Connecticut. Chumba Casino, LuckyLand Slots, and Funzpoints all offer slot and table gameplay that is quite similar to the offerings on real online casinos. In fact, it is possible to win real cash prizes, under certain conditions. However, it is critical to mention that you can play for free, as part of their sweepstakes status.
CAN I PLAY SLOTS ONLINE IN CONNECTICUT?
Yes, you can play slots online via a sweepstakes casino. Legal Connecticut online casinos are in the works and will provide a wide variety of online slots closer to the ones you see inside Foxwoods.
Sweepstakes sites like Chumba Casino, Funzpoints, and LuckyLand Slots all offer slots that are mostly indistinguishable from the titles on real money online casinos. The only difference will be that the slot brands you’re used to seeing in live casinos — Bally, IGT, Konami, etc. — will not be present with the offerings from these sites. Those will be available once online casinos launch in CT. The nice thing is that you can play for real prizes on sweepstakes sites for free. The sites are bound by law to allow you to play for free and to award the prizes that they advertise. Although it may not be terribly likely that you’ll realize a big jackpot, somebody has to win it eventually.
CAN I PLAY ONLINE POKER IN CONNECTICUT?
Not yet. As mentioned with online casinos in Connecticut, the new law that recently passed both houses in Hartford does include the option for legal online poker sites as part of online gaming. However, until it is officially official and rules and regulations are created, online poker rooms are not available in Connecticut.
In keeping with the same theme, 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.
DOES CONNECTICUT HAVE LEGAL ONLINE SPORTSBOOKS?
Not yet but very soon there will be legal online sportsbooks in Connecticut. HB6451 included a full slate of online gambling options, including sportsbook apps. Once Lamont’s signature and the DOI sign off on the new tribal compacts is official, it is only a matter of time before legal online sportsbooks are available in Connecticut alongside online casinos and poker sites.
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.
Legal online gambling vs. offshore sites
At this point, you may be wondering how the information above squares with your own experience. After all, a quick search for “Connecticut online casinos” or something similar yields plenty of results, and many of them look pretty legitimate. In fact, you may have heard some of the site names before or seen them mentioned by mainstream media outlets.
However, we can save you the suspense: You are not looking at sites that are legal and legitimate 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.
While many players in the US, including in Connecticut, might use these sites, they are taking a large risk when they do so. There are several reasons that you should avoid playing through an offshore site.
Connecticut law is one of the clearest in terms of its specific prohibition of online gambling. It even specifies that the act is illegal regardless of the legality in the site’s physical location. Although it’s unlikely, the last thing you want to do is put yourself on law enforcement’s radar because you placed a few wagers.
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. At this point, the only major type of gambling that you cannot do in Connecticut is sports betting, and that could be changing soon.
In the meantime, here are your options for legal gambling in Connecticut:
- 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.
Are there land-based casinos in Connecticut?
Yes. 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 in Connecticut
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.
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.
Wrapping up Connecticut gambling
Connecticut is not the subject of much attention from gamblers most of the time. Often, it is unfairly labeled as nothing more than a millionaire’s playground or an escape for New York City residents. However, there are plenty of excellent gambling opportunities in the Nutmeg State. In fact, Connecticut seems poised to follow in the footsteps of Pennsylvania online casinos. If nothing else, Connecticut is worth a trip to see just how big those two casinos are.