Formation of Connecticut Gaming Commission Floated

Posted on: September 24, 2021, 08:46h. 

Last updated on: September 24, 2021, 08:47h.

Connecticut is home to two of the world’s largest casino resorts — Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods — and will soon offer people 21 years of age and older the opportunity to gamble online and make sports bets on their mobile devices.

Connecticut gaming sports betting iGaming
A screenshot of the self-exclusion website operated by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. The online service allows people to ban themselves from participating in online sports betting and gambling at a regulated internet casino. (Image: CT Department of Consumer Protection)

But Connecticut still doesn’t have a state agency that is entirely devoted to regulating gambling. That could soon change.

Legal online casinos operated by Connecticut’s two tribes, as well as mobile sportsbooks, are expected to commence in the coming days. Internet casinos and sports betting will be operated by the Native Americans and their third-party partners, and the Connecticut Lottery and its cohort Rush Street Interactive will manage mobile and in-person retail sportsbooks.

Unlike other states that have a robust gaming industry, Connecticut does not yet have a state agency that is solely focused on gaming. Currently, gaming matters reside with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s (DCP) Gaming Division.

We’ve just expanded gaming in Connecticut pretty significantly… We’ve loaded them [DCP] up, and I’m very concerned about that,” said Rep. Maria Horn (D-Salisbury).

“I do think we probably ought to have a commission,” Horn concluded. Horn chairs the state Public Safety & Security Commission, which reviews gaming bills.

Safety First

With legal online slots, interactive table games, and mobile sports betting expected as early as next week, Connecticut’s DCP recently launched its first problem gaming self-exclusion program. An online webpage — found here — allows people to self-exclude themselves from accessing legal online gaming sites for one year, five years, or life.

The self-exclusion registration is available to both residents and non-residents.

The DCP in determining appropriate safeguards for the iGaming channels felt a self-exclusion program was needed. The state agency is also requiring time prompts to periodically appear on the gaming platforms to alert users to how long they’ve been active.

Once a patron places $2,500 or more in bets through an online casino or internet sportsbook, a message from the DCP will notify the user of their tally.

The iGaming and sports betting bill passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed by Gov. Ned Lamont (D) called for the DCP to implement emergency regulations to allow the expanded gaming to commence as soon as possible. However, the temporary rules must be reviewed within the first six months of such operations being live. They can also be amended at any point in the future.

“I expect this is going to be one of these things … that we will be revisiting on a regular basis,” Horn explained.

Market Debut

The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes expect their new Class III gaming compacts with the state to be officially approved and published in the federal registrar on Monday, September 27.

Mohegan Sun has aligned with FanDuel for the interactive gaming company to operate its online casino and sportsbook. Foxwoods has partnered with rival DraftKings. FanDuel and DraftKings are expected to also build sportsbooks at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.

The tribes will share 13.75 percent of their sports betting income with the state. Their iGaming gross gaming revenue will be subjected to an 18 percent tax through 2026.

The Connecticut Lottery and Rush Street Interactive are only permitted to operate in-person and mobile sports betting. Along with an online sportsbook, the lottery can designate up to 15 retail locations to include sports betting kiosks featuring the Rush Street lines.

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