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Gambling Laws of Connecticut Legal State Of Gambling

May 27th, 2021, marked a watershed moment in Connecticut’s gambling history with the signing of House Bill 6451, Public Act 21-23, reshaping the state's gaming landscape. Governor Ned Lamont's approval of this bill led to an expansive overhaul, granting exclusive online casino gaming rights to the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes. Alongside online and resort-based sports betting, the legislation allowed the CT Lottery Corporation to operate its online sports betting platform and establish up to 15 retail sportsbooks. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Gaming Division takes charge of regulating these activities, ensuring adherence to stringent guidelines. This guide offers a glimpse into Connecticut's redefined gambling laws, delving into online casino gaming, sports wagering, fantasy contests, Keno, and online lottery ticket sales. With a focus on licensing, regulations, and the roles of key stakeholders, this resource illuminates the evolving gambling landscape in Connecticut, serving as a vital reference for those seeking insight into the state's dynamic gaming sphere.

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Overview of Online Gambling in Connecticut

In May 2021, Connecticut's gambling landscape underwent a seismic transformation with the enactment of HB6451, which revised existinglegal document gambling agreements between the state and its Native American tribes. This groundbreaking legislation granted each tribe the authority to operate their individual online casino platforms. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation secured a partnership with DraftKings, while the Mohegan Tribe formed an alliance with FanDuel to deliver their online gambling services.

This modernized framework introduced a tiered tax system for online commercial casino gaming revenue. For the initial five years, the tribes will pay an 18% tax rate, followed by a 20% rate for at least the subsequent five years. Notably, the agreement stipulated a pause in the development of a new casino in East Windsor for the duration of the legislative pact.

Officially commencing at 6 am on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, online casino gaming in Connecticut saw its inauguration under this regulatory framework. The oversight and regulation of online gambling operations fall under the purview of the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection, ensuring compliance with established guidelines and maintaining the integrity of the digital gaming sphere within the state.

This overview encapsulates the pivotal shift in Connecticut's gambling landscape, heralding the advent of online casino gaming through strategic partnerships, structured tax frameworks, and vigilant regulatory measures to shape a dynamic and compliant online gambling environment in the state.

The Legal Gambling Status in Connecticut

StatutIn Connecticut, gambling is entirely legal and offers a diverse spectrum of options for participation. The legislation in 2021 enabled online casino gaming partnerships between tribal nations (Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes) and prominent operators like DraftKings and FanDuel. It also sanctioned online sports betting and allowed tribal casinos and the Connecticut Lottery Corporation to operate online sportsbooks and up to 15 retail sports betting locations. The bill legalized poker games under tribal exclusivity, permitted online lottery ticket sales through the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, and approved regulated daily fantasy sports, setting tax rates and operational guidelines for each segment.

Type of Gambling Legalization Status Description
Casino Gaming 1986 (Tribal) Tribal casinos operated by Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes were legalized in 1986 through compacts with the state.
Online Casino Gaming October 19, 2021 Legalized through House Bill 6451, allowing partnerships between tribes (Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan) and operators like DraftKings and FanDuel.
Sports Betting October 19, 2021 Authorized by HB 6451, permitting online and retail sports betting through tribal casinos and the Connecticut Lottery Corporation.
Horse Racing 1933 Live and simulcast horse racing betting has been legal since 1933, operating at various racetracks within the state.
Online Sports Betting October 19, 2021 Introduced under HB 6451, allowing online sports wagering through partnerships between tribal nations, the CT Lottery, and operators like Rush Street Interactive.
Poker Games October 19, 2021 Legalized under HB 6451, granting exclusive rights for casino poker games such as Three Card Poker and Casino Hold'em to tribal nations.
Lottery 1971 The Connecticut Lottery Corporation was established in 1971, offering various draw games and scratch-offs. Online lottery ticket sales are permitted through the Corporation.
Bingo 1939 Charitable organizations have been allowed to conduct bingo games for fundraising purposes since 1939.
Daily Fantasy Sports July 2021 Officially permitted through HB 6451, enabling licensed and regulated DFS operators like DraftKings and FanDuel to operate in the state.

License for Online Casinos in Connecticut

Connecticut has several licenses for online gambling and lottery activities, partnering with key entities in the industry. Under House Bill 6451, the state authorized tribal nations—the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes—to offer online casino gaming through alliances with industry leaders like DraftKings and FanDuel. Additionally, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation holds licenses enabling online sports betting operations in collaboration with Rush Street Interactive. Alongside these endeavors, the Corporation has the exclusive rights to facilitate online lottery ticket sales, overseeing the provision of lottery draw games and Keno while preparing for future expansion to offer a diverse online lottery experience.

History and Timeline for Connecticut Online Gambling

This timeline outlines the sequence of events that culminated in the legalization of gambling in the state of Connecticut.

Gambling has had a historical presence in Connecticut, with activities dating back to the 18th century. However, in the 19th century, there were efforts to curtail gambling, and by the mid-1800s, various forms of gambling were prohibited in the state. Lotteries were among the limited gambling activities allowed intermittently, notably during specific periods for fundraising purposes. Connecticut saw shifts in its gambling landscape throughout history, with various regulations and amendments influencing the permissibility and prohibition of different forms of gambling within the state.

  • 1848: Harness racing marks the origin of gambling in Connecticut, commencing with the opening of the first racetrack in Hartford. Gambling was initially viewed as a means to raise funds for various community causes, including schools and churches, often utilizing lotteries for public projects like infrastructure development.
  • Emergence of Casinos: Casino gambling gained traction, notably with the opening of Foxwoods Resort Casino in 1992, swiftly becoming one of the world's largest casinos. Today, Connecticut hosts several other prominent casinos, including Mohegan Sun, The Ridgefield Playhouse, and Two Rivers Casino & Resort.
  • Rise of Sports Betting: Betting on sports experienced a surge in popularity, with numerous establishments across Connecticut offering betting opportunities. Locations such as The Gridiron Sports Bar & Grill in Manchester and Harry’s Ale House in Fairfield have become notable spots for sports wagering.
  • Online Gambling Evolution: Online gambling in Connecticut traces its roots back to the late 1990s when the first online casinos began to emerge. Since then, the online gambling industry has undergone continual growth and diversification within the state.

Legalization of Sports Betting in Connecticut

  • 1976: Connecticut initiated legal betting on racing and jai alai through the Connecticut OTB, functioning as a government agency similar to the state lottery today, providing off-track betting options.
  • 1993: State privatized the Connecticut OTB, selling the operation and the exclusive license for pari-mutuel betting to Autotote Enterprises, Inc. The business expanded, offering races from various North American tracks and introducing user-experience enhancements like race video, rewards programs, self-service, and telephone wagering.
  • 2010: Autotote Enterprises, Inc. transitioned to Sportech Venues, Inc. after acquisition, ushering in a new phase of innovation and investment in Connecticut's betting industry.
  • House Bill 6451: Introduced legal sports betting in Connecticut, permitting both Native American tribes and the Connecticut Lottery Corporation to operate online sportsbooks. Tribal agreements with DraftKings and FanDuel facilitated online gambling services, while the CT Lottery partnered with Rush Street Interactive for their online sports betting platform.
  • October 19th, 2021: Official launch of online sports betting in Connecticut, following a successful seven-day soft launch. The legislation allowed Tribal casinos to offer retail sports betting at their resorts, while granting the CT Lottery rights to establish up to 15 retail sports betting locations. New retail sports betting venues were established in Hartford and Bridgeport. A tax rate of 13.75% was set for sports betting revenue.

Legalization of Online Gambling in Connecticut

  • Historical Significance: Connecticut House passed a groundbreaking bill (122-21 vote) that represents a substantial shift in the state's gambling landscape, allowing widespread access to casino games, sports betting, and lottery sales through online platforms.
  • Comprehensive Update: This legislation marks the first comprehensive overhaul of gambling laws since the establishment of Foxwoods Resorts Casino and Mohegan Sun in the 1990s, enabling the CT Lottery and both casinos to offer sports betting, virtual slots, and table games online.
  • Financial Implications: The move is seen as a vital source of revenue for casinos, particularly in the wake of economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing competition in the gambling industry.
  • Cultural and Political Shift: The resounding vote in favor of the bill symbolizes a significant cultural and political evolution in a state historically known for stringent regulations, previously holding onto practices like Sunday blue laws and restrictions on liquor sales.
  • Legislative Journey: Following the House approval, the bill is expected to pass in the Senate and receive Governor Ned Lamont's signature, ensuring its enactment into law. Amendments to the state's compact with the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans will subsequently undergo review by the Department of the Interior.

Legal Gambling Forms in Connecticut

In Connecticut, legal forms of gambling encompass a variety of activities. The state permits tribal casinos, namely Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino, offering a wide array of gambling options such as slot machines, table games like blackjack, poker, roulette, and baccarat. Off-track betting on horse and greyhound racing is allowed at designated locations. The state's lottery, including scratch-off tickets, draw games, and multistate lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions, is also legal. Charitable gambling events, like bingo and raffles, are sanctioned under specific regulations.

In Connecticut, individuals must be at least 21 years old to legally participate in various forms of gambling, including casino gaming, sports betting, off-track betting on horse and greyhound races, and engaging in lottery activities such as purchasing lottery tickets or playing scratch-off games.

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Illegal

Connecticut Prohibited Gambling Activities

Understand the boundaries of prohibited gambling activities in Connecticut. Stay informed about activities deemed illegal to maintain a responsible and legal gambling environment. Adhering to regulations ensures a secure and enjoyable experience for all participants.

Check Out These Online Casinos Available in Connecticut

Discover a variety of permitted online casinos accessible in Connecticut, where you have the freedom to select your preferred type of gambling entertainment. As part of the registration process within these platforms, age verification is a mandatory step to ensure compliance with legal betting age requirements. Choose from a diverse array of gambling options available at these authorized online casinos in Connecticut, all while undergoing the necessary verification to ensure a safe and lawful gaming experience.

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Legalization of Bingo in Connecticut

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Connecticut has a nuanced history regarding the legalization of various forms of gambling. Bingo, as a game of chance, was officially sanctioned within the state's legal framework back in 1939. Following this, in 1955, bazaars and raffles gained authorization, expanding the spectrum of permissible charitable gambling activities. The introduction of sealed tickets into the legal realm came later in 1987. Notably, starting from 1972, non-profit entities were granted the ability to host casino games during fundraising events known as Las Vegas Nights. However, this provision was repealed in 2003, signaling a shift in the state's stance on such activities. Currently, municipalities are responsible for issuing permits to non-profit organizations engaged in these specific gambling activities as of January 2017, indicating a localized approach to overseeing and regulating these charitable endeavors.

Legalization of Blackjack in Connecticut

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In Connecticut, recent changes in gambling laws have ushered in an era where popular online casino games, including blackjack, are now legally accessible to residents. These revised regulations permit enthusiasts to indulge in a diverse array of online casino favorites such as slots and roulette. Players have the liberty to select from a wide selection of the latest video slots, many of which boast engaging bonus rounds and substantial jackpots. Moreover, the expanded gambling landscape also caters to aficionados of classic table games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat, offering varying stakes to suit different preferences. This progressive shift in Connecticut's gambling laws provides players with the opportunity to enjoy an extensive range of online casino experiences, including the thrill of blackjack, within the confines of the state's legal framework.

Legalization of Lotteries in Connecticut

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Connecticut's recent legislative updates have brought about significant changes to the state's gambling landscape, notably legalizing the online sale of lottery tickets under the iLottery system. The CT Lottery holds exclusive rights to administer iLottery services, enabling the online purchase of tickets for lottery draw games and keno. However, it's important to note that the iLottery platform will not include instant win games or scratchers. Despite the successful launch of the SugarHouse sportsbook by the CT Lottery, the development and implementation of the online lottery platform will take additional time. As of now, the official Connecticut Lottery website lacks the infrastructure to facilitate online ticket sales and keno games. Founded in 1971, the Connecticut Lottery operates within the state's borders, offering both in-state and multi-state games, including scratch games and keno, but has yet to provide online sales or games through its ctlottery.org website, which primarily serves informational purposes. It's worth mentioning that since 2021, the Lottery has expanded into retail and mobile sports betting through partnerships with various land-based locations and its PlaySugarHouse app developed in collaboration with Rush Street Interactive. As developments unfold, including the announcement of a launch date, comprehensive details regarding the Connecticut online lottery will be updated accordingly.

Connecticut Parimutuel Betting

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Connecticut's gambling landscape has seen a transition from live racing tracks to a robust off-track betting (OTB) system, marking a shift in the state's approach to parimutuel betting. Although live racing tracks are no longer operational in Connecticut, the legalization of OTBs for parimutuel betting on racing and jai alai in 1976 laid the groundwork for an extensive network. Initially under state government control, the OTB venues were later privatized in 1993, with Sportech emerging as the entity overseeing the network today. This network, owned by Sportech, comprises sports bars that have forged partnerships with the Lottery, offering a combination of sports betting and parimutuel wagering on racing events. Notably, Sportech introduced its MyWinners.com website and mobile app in 2014, representing one of the primary licensed online betting platforms available in Connecticut for several years. This evolution highlights Connecticut's pivot towards a sophisticated parimutuel betting system, adapting to the changing dynamics of gambling preferences and technological advancements within the industry.

Connecticut Prohibited Gambling Activities

Connecticut's gambling laws encompass various legal activities while also delineating prohibited gambling practices within the state. Despite the legalization and regulation of several forms of gambling, certain activities remain prohibited under Connecticut law. These include unauthorized sports betting conducted outside of authorized venues, unlicensed commercial casinos operating without state approval, and any form of gambling not explicitly permitted or licensed by state statutes. Additionally, illegal gambling operations, such as unlicensed poker rooms or unauthorized slot machines outside of approved casino premises, are strictly prohibited. Engaging in any form of gambling by individuals under the legal gambling age of 21 is also forbidden. Connecticut law rigorously regulates and prohibits gambling activities that are not explicitly authorized, aiming to maintain the integrity of sanctioned gambling operations while preventing unauthorized and potentially illicit gambling practices within the state.

Gambling in Connecticut – Licensing, Tax and Fees

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Connecticut's taxation and fee structure for gambling operations encompass a tiered system designed for different entities involved in the gambling industry. The Mohegan Tribe, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, and the Connecticut Lottery have the eligibility to obtain a coveted “master wagering license” for offering sports betting, exempting them from paying initial licensing or renewal fees. However, online gaming operators partnering with these licensees must secure an online gaming operator license, entailing a substantial initial fee of $250,000 along with an annual renewal fee of $100,000. Additionally, entities contracting with the Connecticut Lottery for retail sports wagering must procure a sports wagering retailer license, involving an initial fee of $20,000 and an annual renewal fee of the same amount. For master wagering licensees operating online casino gaming, taxes are imposed on gross gaming revenue (GGR), starting at 18 percent for the first five years and escalating to 20 percent from the sixth year onward. This structured approach to taxation and fees aims to balance the interests of various gambling stakeholders while generating revenue for the state's general fund.

Cost Component Amount
Application Fee $250,000
Gaming License Fee $250,000
Renewal Fee $100,000
Contribution to State Compulsive Gambling Programs $0 (as indicated)
Gross Receipts Tax (iGaming Operator) 15% of Gross Receipts
Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) to CRDA Determined by agreement/terms

Important Questions for Gambling Laws of Connecticut

Is online gambling legal in Connecticut?

Yes, online gambling, including online sports betting and online casino gaming, is legal in Connecticut. The state passed legislation legalizing online gambling in 2021, allowing for online sports betting, online casino gaming, and online poker. The law permits the Mohegan Tribe, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, and the Connecticut Lottery to offer online gambling services. The tribes and the lottery are authorized to operate sports betting and online casino gaming platforms, which are accessible to players within the state boundaries. This legislative move marked a significant expansion of gambling options in Connecticut, bringing online gambling activities under a regulated framework, with proper licensing and oversight.

What is the minimum age requirement for engaging in online casinos, sports betting, and poker in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, the minimum age requirement for engaging in online casinos, sports betting, and poker is 21 years old. This age restriction applies uniformly across various forms of gambling within the state, whether it's in-person at casinos or participating in online gambling activities such as online casinos, sports betting, or online poker. To legally access and participate in these online gambling activities in Connecticut, individuals must be at least 21 years of age. Adherence to this minimum age requirement is strictly enforced as part of the state's gambling regulations.

How does parimutuel betting work in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, parimutuel betting operates by pooling bets on horse racing and jai alai into a collective wagering pool. Bettors place bets on specific outcomes (win, place, or show), and odds are determined by the total amount wagered on each outcome. A percentage is deducted from the betting pool to cover expenses and taxes, and the remaining pool is divided among winning bets based on the odds at the race's conclusion. The track retains a percentage (takeout) before distributing winnings. This regulated system ensures fairness and transparency in betting while being overseen by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection to maintain integrity in parimutuel wagering activities throughout the state.

What types of gambling are legally permissible in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, legally permissible forms of gambling include online casinos, sports betting, poker, lotteries, bingo, horse racing, and land-based casinos.

Type of Gambling Description
Casino Gambling Slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette, baccarat at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Lottery Draw games, scratch-off tickets, Powerball, Mega Millions operated by Connecticut Lottery Corporation.
Off-Track Betting (OTB) Wagering on horse and greyhound racing at designated locations.
Charitable Gambling Bingo, raffles, and certain casino-style fundraising events under specific regulations.
Sports Betting Wagering on sports events, including online sports betting, legalized in Connecticut.

Which regulatory bodies oversee gambling activities in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, gambling activities are overseen and regulated by several regulatory bodies:

  1. Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP): The DCP is responsible for regulating various aspects of gambling within the state. It oversees licensing, compliance, and enforcement related to gambling operations, ensuring adherence to state laws and regulations.
  2. Connecticut Lottery Corporation: Responsible for overseeing the state lottery, including the operation of draw games, scratch-off tickets, and multi-state lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions.
  3. Tribal Gaming Authorities: Gambling activities at tribal casinos, such as Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino, fall under the jurisdiction of tribal gaming commissions established by the respective tribes. These commissions regulate and oversee casino operations, ensuring compliance with tribal gaming ordinances and compacts with the state.
  4. Legislature and Government Agencies: The Connecticut General Assembly and associated governmental bodies play a role in shaping and passing gambling-related legislation. Additionally, governmental agencies may have oversight or advisory roles regarding specific gambling-related matters.
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