It’s not uncommon to see states introduce land-based gaming operations before their virtual counterpart, although a few states dove straight in and launched online gaming right from the start. That proved to be an intelligent move, given the havoc caused by COVID-19, and online sports betting and casinos continue to find more support. Connecticut wanted to have both land-based and online gaming, but the latter was forced to wait a little longer. However, its time has arrived.
Connecticut Launching Online Sportsbooks, Casinos
Connecticut lawmakers approved measures this past May to allow online gaming activity, but they had to jump a few more hurdles to bring it to the finish line. Those remaining hurdles have now been crossed and, as of Tuesday, October 12, online sports betting and casinos will begin to arrive in Connecticut. It’s good news, but there are some restrictions that will be in place, at least for now.
The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) gave its final approval for online gaming operations to the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes, as well as the Connecticut Lottery Corp., last Friday. They expected to receive the approval a day earlier, but DCP postponed its decision by a day as it continued to address several issues.
In approving the online gaming activity, DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said on Friday, “We appreciate the hard work of our licensees and their teams, as well as the team at DCP, for their diligence in ensuring these platforms are compliant with the regulations approved by the legislature. As long as no issues arise, we have told the licensees they may move forward with the 7-day soft launch required in the regulations. Once the soft launch is complete, online gaming will open statewide.”
Treading Slowly into Online Territory
The soft launch gives the tribes and the lottery operator a chance to test its gaming solutions and ensure they comply with state regulations before a permanent rollout is approved. This is not likely a direct result of Connecticut’s issue with its land-based sportsbook launch, although that launch was an example of why soft launches are necessary.
Over 100 online casino games will be allowed by the state’s two casinos during the soft launch, but there won’t be any live dealer or peer-to-peer activity included. The online casinos and sportsbooks will be limited to 750 players, as well. Mohegan Sun is partnered with FanDuel, while DraftKings found a home with Foxwoods. The Connecticut Lottery is partnered with Rush Street Interactive.
There will also be another restriction in place during the soft launch to make sure everything is in order. The online gaming activity will only be allowed from 3 PM to 11 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday and will then expand to 12 PM to 11:59 PM Thursday and Friday. Provided everything goes smoothly, online gaming will be allowed 24 hours a day starting Saturday. Only after the soft launch period has run its course will player and other restrictions be lifted.