Connecticut Sports Betting Makes Progress – Plus, Can It Start By NFL Season?

Posted By Nicholaus Garcia on April 20, 2021 - Last Updated on April 21, 2021

Everyone now knows Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and state lawmakers worked their magic to make sports betting a reality. But the only question residents and visitors want to know is, when will sports betting in Connecticut launch?

We know there is a timeline in place, and we also know other bits of information that will be beneficial to the average consumer.

Potential launch date

“There is hope to launch sports betting in Connecticut by the start of NFL season.” Lottery Chairman Rob Simmelkjaer told Legal Sports Report

The upcoming NFL season is expected to start in September. This gives Connecticut regulators a short five-month window to get everything done. This will be no easy task.

For starters, the Connecticut Lottery still needs to pick a partner, which, according to Simmelkjaer, it is currently in the process of doing. And there is still a stack of paperwork to finish. Lawmakers must still approve multiple bills, compacts need to be amended and signed, and lastly, rules and regulations to govern sports betting must be established.

Next, a laundry list of behind-the-scenes mechanics, including geolocation software, implementing safeguards, testing a product, selecting retail locations, and building new retail betting locations, need to be developed.

Some of these things will be linear, but a majority of these items can begin happening in the present.

“It’s an aggressive timeline – not sure that it will happen. But we’ve created a timeline that at least leaves that possibility open,” Simmelkjaer said.

Who will operate CT sports betting?

In a perfect system, the lottery chairman said retail sportsbooks would be within a 30-minute drive from everyone.

It’s no secret that retail sports betting is a priority for Connecticut.

With that in mind, and placed into its most simplistic form, here is who will operate sports betting:

  • The state lottery will get 15 retail sportsbook locations
  • Sportech (pari-mutual horse betting operator) can sublicense those 15 locations
  • Lottery will build two new retail sportsbooks in Bridgeport and Hartford
  • The Mohegan tribe + Kambi
  • The Mashantucket Pequot tribe + DraftKings
  • CT Lottery + TBD

The lottery has issued an RFP (request for proposal) to select its partner. Responses are due by April 23.

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Minor details

Other clerical details your average consumer might not care about include the sports betting tax rate, which is set at 13.75%.

Additionally, Kambi and DraftKings are both already partnered with the two state tribes, so it’s unsure if they can submit their name to be partners with the lottery.

With those two names potentially off the list, we can expect to see names like FanDuel, William Hill, and Caesars to make a case to be the state lottery partner.

Lastly, looking at the big picture, sports betting in Connecticut might resemble New Hampshire and New York.

New Hampshire selected DraftKings as its exclusive pattern for mobile and retail sports betting, including a 50% revenue split. In New York, we know Gov. Andrew Cuomo also expects a minimum of 50% revenue share with whoever is selected as the state’s sports betting partner.

There has been no confirmation that Connecticut will ask for a 50/50 split, but according to Simmelkjaer, the combination of everything the state has to offer puts it in a position for a strong revenue share.

“We also feel as Connecticut Lottery with both our brand and our existing reach when it comes to people in the state – we have almost 3,000 retailers in the state. They won’t all be taking sports bets, but they’re all touchpoints that we can use potentially as we look to acquire customers. So all of those things combined – and not to mention, lastly, our exclusive retail rights around the state – we think all those things combined put us in a position to drive a very strong revenue share,” he said.

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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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