The Connecticut Senate passed the state’s sports betting bill by a vote of 122 to 21 just before midnight on Tuesday. The bill will now go to Gov. Ned Lamont for his signature to become law.
Lamont is expected to sign the bill in the next several days. The bill will allow the following:
- The Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans tribes will offer in-person and online sports betting.
- Each tribe will receive an online sports betting skin.
- The state will operate an online sports betting skin through the Connecticut State Lottery.
- The state will operate up to 15 retail sports betting locations.
- New licensing regulations for Daily Fantasy Sports providers in the state.
Connecticut Online and In-Person Sports Betting is Imminent
The senate passed HB 6451 just a week after it was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 122-21. The approved legislation allows the state to send its gaming compact with the with the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegan Tribes to the U.S. Department of the Interior for review.
Unlike Florida’s recent gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe, Connecticut will treat its Indian tribes like commercial entities for the purpose of online sports betting. This enables the state to keep the online sports betting aspect out of its gaming compact and avoids any federal challenges with Indian tribes offering online sports betting.
Both tribes will be able to offer online sports betting but they will be regulated and licensed by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.
Additionally, the bill will not allow wagers on in-state collegiate programs.
Daily Fantasy Sports Likely to See a Pause in Service
Daily Fantasy Sports users and companies will be disappointed to see the bill did not alter language that requires DFS operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, to be licensed by either the Mashantucket Pequots, Mohegan Tribes or the Connecticut Lottery. This will likely cause a delay in service as the Department of Consumer Protection will need to develop regulations for DFS before licenses can be issued.
The bill goes into effect on July 1, 2021 and the Daily Fantasy Sports providers will not be able to operate until they are licensed. It is unclear how long the licensing procedure may take, but many worry that the entire NFL season may be missed.
A 13.75% tax rate on sports wagering and an 18% tax rate for the first five years on new online commercial casino gaming would go into effect, followed by a 20% tax rate for at least the next five years. In comparison to the NY sports betting bill, sportsbooks will view this as a welcome change.
The Connecticut Lottery Corporation announced last month it received 15 responses to its request for qualifications to operate the lottery’s online skin or one of up to 15 retail sportsbooks.
Connecticut Lottery Still Deciding on its One Skin
The 15 responses for the request for qualification was not a legally binding agreement or a contract of any kind. The state is hoping to jumpstart its online and in-person sports betting program with the hopes of a program launch by Sept. 6, 2021, according to the original request for qualifications.
Week one of the NFL is scheduled to begin on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.
The lottery corporation sent invitations for presentations of qualified responses earlier this week and finalists will be chosen for submission of formal business plans.
The Mashantucket Pequot have already partnered with DraftKings Sportsbook while the Mohegan Tribes have partnered with Kambi, leaving only the state’s online license still available.