Online Gambling in
Connecticut

The consensus is that the Constitution state will be welcoming sports betting at some point. But confidence isn’t as high for online sports betting, however.

Connecticut

There are currently no legal online gambling options in CT

Legal Gambling in Connecticut

Talk about bad timing! Any hope of seeing sports betting in Connecticut in 2018 were dashed soon after the Supreme Court brought down the federal ban on single game wagering.

The defining day of May 14th which granted individual states the power to decide whether to bring forth a framework for its own sports betting industry, fell five days after the Connecticut legislative session had come to an end.

This left a limited period for state legislators to enact a provisional law that had been drawn up in 2017 should the betting landscape change.

While the idea of a special session, just for the purpose of sports betting, was mooted, the unfortunate timeline resulted in little time for the framework to be thrashed out and the now typical issues and concerns that are a given when attempting to legalize sports betting to be addressed. Hence, plans for lawmakers to fully ratify the proposed bills were shelved. For 2018 at least.

However, with the engine running it won’t be too long until the wheels are in full motion.

Where are we now with sports betting in CT?

There’s a second wave of states looking to make 2019 the year in which they roll out sports betting and Connecticut are firmly among them.

The start of a new year has naturally added extra motivation to move along with proceedings. However, there’s now a hint of urgency emanating from The Constitution State given how far along their regional rivals are with implementing sports betting.

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island have sports betting up and running.

New York, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts aren’t too far away and remain in contention for a 2019 launch.

The case of Connecticut has taken another twist though with the appointment of a new Governor of the state. It remains to be seen where the newly sworn in, Ned Lamont, places sports betting on his list of priorities. Even so, he has pledged to sit down and listen to all parties involved in getting the bill over the line.

All this said, the time is now for Connecticut. Providing the state manages to iron out and address the obstacles preventing the framework from being approved, there’s genuine belief that we will have sports betting in Connecticut at some point late in 2019.

Online Sports Betting in Connecticut

The consensus is that the Nutmeg state will be welcoming sports betting at some point during the next twelve months. Confidence isn’t as high for online sports betting however.

To be fair, the online side of things has been launched in just three of the eight states that have legal and active sports betting industries.

Implementing standalone sports betting is enough of a challenge in itself for many states.

In Connecticut’s case, matters are complicated further with the two tribal run casinos in the state. As well as maintaining their stance that they should have exclusivity on sports betting (more on that below), they stress that rolling out sports betting without an online industry makes little sense, especially if they plan to authorize mobile wagering soon.

The tribes are pushing for both but it’s believed they’ll get fail to get their way, leaving the prospect of online betting in Connecticut at long odds for 2019.

Hurdles to jump for CT Sports betting

· Tribal conflict

A tit-for-tat situation has developed between the state’s two casinos that are operated by Native American tribes. The current deal sees the state receive 25% of slot revenue from the two casinos.

This translates to an approximate sum of $250 million annually for the Connecticut coffers.

However, The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes are of the view that they should have exclusivity when it comes to offering sports betting within the state.

Should another arrangement come to pass whereby betting operators are brought in to oversee sports betting, the current deal would be off the table and the state would be down on revenue.

The idea has already been rejected by the state attorney as the two continue conflicting parties continue to lock horns. This said, it’s widely believed there is willing on behalf of both to reach a compromise in the coming months with it crucial the tribe-state relationship is preserved going forwards.

· Major pro leagues want a cut

A matter not as pressing for CT but an ongoing issue nonetheless is that of integrity/royalty fees, a debate that has caused much controversy in almost every state to consider sports betting.

Many of the major sporting bodies, most notably the NBA and MLB, had long opposed the introduction of legalizing the industry, citing concerns that the integrity of the sports leagues would be harmed with the potential rise in match fixing for instance.

However, the pro leagues have since changed tack and warmed to the idea, going as far as signing lucrative deals with sportsbooks and casinos. At the same time, they’ve formed an alliance and are pushing hard for the legislation to include a cut fee that is paid to the sports leagues.

While they may have a point - at the end of the day without the pro sports leagues, there would be no games to bet on - it’s how the fee is being dressed up which continues to irk Connecticut lawmakers.

Do the leagues want money to protect the integrity of their sport (integrity fee)? Or, is it the case of demanding a fee for the use of their ‘product’ (royalty fee).

- Integrity fee vs. royalty fee

Major sports leagues want to be paid 1% of the all wagers placed through a CT sportsbook.

The pro leagues claim that the fee is needed to offset the additional costs that come with widespread betting, including staving off the increased threat of match fixing.

To do this, all four major leagues will need to invest in the resources needed to effectively monitor the industry and improve data and analytic tools. Additional staff will also be required to combat criminal gangs and betting terminals.

CT lawmakers remain against paying, which could generate as much as $2 billion in integrity fees annually.

And when challenged on this, the leagues have claimed that even if the idea of integrity fee doesn’t float, the leagues are entitled to collect a fee regardless, referring to it as an “intellectual property right”. In other words a royalty fee should be paid, simply use of the leagues.

However, doesn’t it work both ways? Wouldn’t an expanded gambling market to allow for sports betting actually create greater interest in the leagues, as well as generate extra engagement with fans who, in turn, will buy tickets/merchandise or push TV ratings?

It has also been highlighted that 1% is excessive when compared to the 0.25% fee set to be applied in New York in the near future. Meanwhile, Nevada sportsbooks pay nothing whatsoever to the pro leagues.

The concept slipped under the radar somewhat during the first wave of states to legalize sports betting. Yet, it’s a topic which still persists and is set to resurface once more for the next wave of states preparing to welcome the industry.

Laws and Regulations for Sports Betting in CT

- Sports betting legal: legislation passed in 2017 federal law change in mind

- The Connecticut Gaming Division expected to oversee industry

- Law expected to be enacted in 2019, until then sports betting not permitted

- Online sports betting decision still pending but thought to have backing

- Daily Fantasy sports legal but not yet established

Connecticut Sports Teams

Unfortunately, the number of pro sports teams to have made Connecticut their home amounts to a grand total of zero. It’s not all about the major leagues though as is evident with the support for the Connecticut Huskies who represent the University of Connecticut across a variety of sports.

Being the most successful, it’s the football and basketball sides that claim most of the support amongst the 3.5 million residents in the state.

The Connecticut Huskies men’s basketball team of the University of Connecticut are always within a shot of winning the big prizes: the Big East and NCAA title.

Historically this team has produced some of NBA’s biggest names including Rudy Gay, Ray Allen and Emeka Okafor. This is also true of the women’s team who are arguably more successful than their male counterparts.

As one of the most prestigious universities in the entire US, Connecticut also boasts a successful university football team who play in the NCAA and have amassed a healthy collection of conference titles through the years.

Due to the popularity of college sports in CT, any legislation going forwards is almost guaranteed to include a provision for wagering on collegiate game and events.

The potential for players of college teams - not as financially privileged as those in the pro leagues - to have their heads turned by the idea of matchfixing, has prompted some states to forbid all betting on college sports. However, due to the popularity of the Huskies in particular, this will not be the case in Connecticut.

How to Bet on College Basketball:

- Moneyline (ML)

For this straightforward wager, you’ll find two sets of odds that refer to the chances of each team winning the game. The odds are determined by the bookie who will consider a number of factors including form, league position, availability of players, weather and home advantage.

Typical wager:

Team A: -300

Team B: +240

Above is an example of a how a ML tends to be listed. Here, bettors of Team A are required to put up $30 to win $10.

As you can see with the potential winnings, Team A are the favourites and expected to win. Advanced bettors would ensure of a significant return by staking a sizeable sum initially.

As underdogs, Team B brings the possibility of a better payout - risking $10 wins $24 in this instance. Backing the team not expected to win requires less of an investment to win big but of course, they’ve been priced as the underdog for a reason!

Not so common in the NCAA but if you take your betting onto the NBA, you will come across instances when top of the league plays bottom where the odds appear excessive.


Extreme wager:

Team C: +600

Team D: -850

The ML odds here show Team D as the overwhelming favourites so much so that you need to lay $850 to collect $100 in profit ($950 all together with stake returned). On the flip side a wager of $100 on Team D brings home winnings of $600.


- Point spread

NBA games can be high scoring affairs and the same is true of games at college level too. As a result, bookmakers apply a spread to level out the chances of the two teams winning. For the purpose of the bet, the team expected to win gives points to the team expected to lose.

If we take a classic NBA match-up, say the Celtics vs. the Knicks, as an example, the majority of money will go the way of the Celtics, whose tag as favorites will be reflected in the odds.

A point spread of +10 points on the Celtics means they have to win by 11 points or more to ‘cover the spread’. A winning margin of nine points or less would result in the bet being lost, while if the difference between the two is bang on 10 points, the bet is deemed a push/tie and your stake is returned.

A point spread wager allows for better value to be found in a game which may not be so appealing initially.


- Totals (Overs/Unders)

In terms of popularity, a totals wager is second only to the point spread when betting on basketball.

All to do here is call the combined score of the two teams playing.

Once the bookmaker has set the number based on the qualities and history of the teams, the bettor needs to predict whether the game’s total points score will be Over the line, or whether the total score will finish Under the line set.

Let’s say the line is 189 points. Punters to have wagered on ‘Over’ will win if the total amount of points scored is 190 or more. Those who backed ‘Under’ will be successful if the total score stands at 188 or less. In the event of the total score equaling 189 points, the wager becomes a push/tie where your stake is returned.