Connecticut is home to two of the largest casinos in the U.S., and its tribal owners have an eye on online casino gambling.
The tribes are also considering adding a third casino, and state lawmakers are attempting to advance sports betting. But competing interests, coupled with real and threatened litigation, have slowed gambling progress on all fronts.
The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes pay the state 25% of slots revenues, an amount that has exceeded $8 billion since the compact was first signed more than 25 years ago. The state wants to preserve those payments (which have fallen in recent years), while at the same time offer its own version of sports gambling, which the tribes say would violate gambling exclusivity agreements.
If a deal can be reached, it’s a win-win for the state’s gambling stakeholders and bettors. Gambling.com will continue to monitor and report on all of the state’s latest gambling developments.
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Online casino gambling is not legal in Connecticut. The state’s two casinos, Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino, offer their own social casinos in which online slots or tables games can be played for free, which no real money changing hands. Several other national social gambling sites also offer free games on their websites and through Facebooks apps. Gambling.com’s top-rated social casino sites are listed above.
Connecticut allows online gambling on Daily Fantasy Sports and pari-mutuel wagering. The Connecticut Lottery offers a mobile app that allows players to scan tickets, though no purchases can be made online.
When the state’s casinos shut down due to COVID-19, several municipal government officials asked Gov. Ned Lamont to use his emergency powers to allow Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to offer online gaming. Lamont declined the request, saying in a letter that such a move would require a revision in the state’s gambling compacts with the tribes, and that adding online gambling “is a significant policy decision that has not yet been embraced or acted upon by our legislature.’’
Online casino gambling bills were introduced in the state legislature in 2019 and 2020, so it is on the radar with lawmakers. It’s difficult to estimate when an online casino or sports betting bill may eventually pass. It may be as soon as when (or if) the state and tribes find common ground to make it happen.
Connecticut is home to two of the three largest casinos in the U.S., Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun. Both operate on tribal lands under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Some details on each:
|Casino||City||Address||Hours of Operation|
|Foxwoods Resort Casino||Mashantucket||350 Trolley Lane Boulevard||24 hours|
|Mohegan Sun||Uncasville||1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard||24 hours|
Address: 350 Trolley Lane Boulevard, Mashantucket
Hours of Operation: Open 24 hours
About: Owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in state’s southeastern region about eight miles from Norwich (77 miles from Boston, 118 miles from New York). Opened in 1992 and has undergone multiple expansions. With 344,000 square feet of gaming space, it’s the second largest casino in the U.S. (only WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma is larger). Gambling options at Foxwoods include nearly 5,000 slot machine games, 250 table games and poker, spread across four casino floors.
Address: 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville
Hours of Operation: Open 24 hours
About: Opened in 1996 and owned by the Mohegan Tribe. Located about 10 miles east of Foxwoods and ranks just behind its tribal neighbor with nearly 300,000 square feet of gaming space. Has nearly 5,000 slot machines, more than 300 table games and poker room. Mohegan Gaming has aggressively expanded its gambling operations to other states including New Jersey (Resorts Casino Hotel) and Pennsylvania (Mohegan Sun Pocono).
Note: Number of available games subject to change at both casinos due to social distancing restrictions.
A third Connecticut casino, to be jointly owned by the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegan tribes, and built off-reservation land in East Windsor, received federal government approval in 2019. MGM Resorts, which operates a casino just 12 miles from East Windsor in Springfield, Mass., subsequently filed suit, arguing the government’s approval violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Both Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino are interested in offering Connecticut players online gaming and would have done so if Gov. Ned Lamont allowed it via executive order while both casinos were shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic. Lamont denied the request, which was made by 13 state lawmakers.
Foxwoods already offers a free online social casino where players can earn points and rewards and would easily make the transition into offering an online casino gambling site for real money. Mohegan Sun is even better positioned – it has live money online casino gambling operations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Mobile apps have created a new level of convenience for online gamblers, allowing them to wager on their smartphone or tablet 24/7 from anywhere in the state.
If and when online gambling is legalized in Connecticut, operators will be rolling out newly designed mobile apps accessible for both Android and iOS devices. The apps are free, easy to download and designed specifically for mobile play.
In states with legal online casino gambling, these are among the most popular games offered:
Online Slots: Most of the traditional slot machine games found at your favorite casino are also available online, adjusted to fit your smartphone or tablet. In addition, new online slot titles featuring the latest graphics and animation are released frequently.
Online Poker: Connecticut’s two casinos boast two of the larger poker rooms in the U.S., so an online poker audience is already built in. With several land-based casino poker rooms across the nation temporarily shuttered due to coronavirus, states that allow online poker have experienced a record surge in revenues.
Roulette: The online version uses an electronic random number generator instead of a physical wheel. Several varieties are offered, with European and French Roulette offering players more favorable odds than American Roulette.
Online Blackjack: Among the advantages of playing online: No waiting for a table, lower minimum bets and online bonus offers. In addition, more varieties of blackjack are offered that are not generally available at physical casinos, such as Blackjack Switch, European Blackjack and Spanish 21.
Live Dealer: First introduced in New Jersey, live dealer games continue to gain in popularity. Table games such as blackjack, roulette and baccarat are dealt by an actual person in a studio or live casino setting and streamed to your computer or mobile device. Live dealer adds a social element, allowing players to chat with the dealer and other players at the table. Not every state with legal online casinos offers live dealer options, though.
Lottery: The Connecticut Lottery only allows in-person tickets sales at retail outlets throughout the state but has expressed interest in digital sales. The CT Lottery offers a mobile app which allows players to scan the barcode of any ticket to determine if it’s a winner.
Online casino operators provide players several payment options to fund or withdraw from their accounts. Among the most popular:
E-wallets: The most widely accepted are PayPal, Neteller and Skrill, which store your financial information and allow you to quickly transfer funds to and from your online account for low fees.
Play+: Generally a casino-branded prepaid card which players can apply for directly on the online operator’s website. Make deposits with a credit card or bank account onto your Play+ card and transfer it to your gambling account. You can also transfer winnings from your gambling account to your Play+ account, then access the cash at ATMs.
Credit/debit cards: Visa and MasterCard are popular deposit options, though not all financial institutions process gambling transactions, and others treat deposits as a cash advance and charge high fees. A method other than credit/debit cards is usually recommended for withdrawals as most casinos don’t allow for it.
ACH/bank transfer: Works for deposits and withdrawals, with an electronic transfer of funds established between bank account and online gambling account. Fees are generally low. Deposits are processed quickly, withdrawals take longer.
PayNearMe: Cash-only deposit option with no credit card or bank information needed. A barcode is scanned at a Connecticut 7-Eleven, CVS Pharmacy or Family Dollar, and the money is deposited into your gambling account.
Online casino gambling sites operate in a competitive marketplace and offer bonuses and promotions as a way to sign up new customers and retain existing ones. Many of these bonuses include “playthrough” wagering requirements, so it’s important to read the fine print.
Among the most popular bonus offers:
Sign-up no-deposit bonus : Receive a small bonus simply by signing up for an account.
Deposit match: Make your first deposit and your online casino operator will match up to 100% of that amount. Players will generally be required to wager that bonus money a specified number times before it can be redeemed.
Free spins, tournament entry: Offered to slot players to try new games or free entry for a poker player into various tournaments.
Reload bonus: Sometimes offered to players after they make an additional deposit or to incentivize players whose accounts have been inactive.
Of all the states where gambling is legal in the U.S., the Constitution State has one of the most intimate connections to the country’s Native American roots. For casino and poker fans, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun will be familiar names as they’re among the largest casino resorts in the world.
In addition to tribal casinos, the state allows residents to bet on horses and greyhounds as well as play lotteries and bingo. However, as is often the case, the legal landscape isn’t always easy to navigate. Despite being fairly liberal with regards to some forms of betting, Connecticut online gambling laws have stalled in recent years.
With state’s two casinos shuttered by coronavirus, Gov. Ned Lamont rejects a request to allow Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to permit online casino gambling.
Connecticut lawmakers propose legislation authorizing online casinos, poker and sports betting, but questions over tribes’ exclusivity to offer gambling slows progress.
Mohegan Sun opens, the state’s second tribal casino. Like Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun becomes one of the largest gaming resorts in the U.S.
Mashantucket Pequot Tribe opens Foxwoods as high-stakes bingo hall. Tribe adds table games and poker in 1992 and slots in 1993. In compact with state, tribe agrees to pay 25% of all slots revenue to state.
Jai-Alai frontons open in Hartford and Bridgeport; a greyhound track opens in Plainfield. Five pari-mutuel facilities would eventually operate in the state. All close by 2005, though off-track betting remains available.
Legislature authorizes Connecticut Lottery and legalizes pari-mutuel horse racing and off-track betting.
In some ways, it’s quite surprising that Connecticut has lagged behind many of its neighboring states and not legalized sports betting.
In 2017, a year before the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting, Connecticut lawmakers passed a bill with a provision that would allow for sports wagering. When the U.S. Supreme Court repealed PASPA in 2018, it appeared Connecticut would be one of the first states to take advantage and legalize and regulate sports betting.
But the state never moved forward due to questions over whether the tribal owners of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have exclusive rights to offer sports betting. Those questions remain unresolved and are still being debated today. As a result, Connecticut remains without a sports gambling law on the books.
The answer is: As soon as state lawmakers, Gov. Ned Lamont and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes can reach an agreement on which entities should be allowed to offer sports betting and how it will be implemented.
A House bill introduced in 2020 would allow the tribes and the state to offer Connecticut players in-person and online sports betting. The tribes, which pay the state about $250 million in slots revenue every year, have threatened to withhold payments and file suit, claiming their casino gambling compacts with the state gives them the exclusive right to offer sports betting.
A second bill proposed in the Senate would give the tribes sports betting exclusivity. The governor has proposed the Connecticut Lottery, state off-track betting vendor Sportech and the tribes all be allowed to implement online and in-person sports betting.
Whenever that stalemate is solved is when Connecticut will legalize online and in-person sports betting. It may take the courts, or some form of settlement, to break the deadlock in 2021 or beyond.
Connecticut lawmakers in 2018 passed a bill legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports, which is regulated by the state’s Department of Consumer Protection.
All of the major Daily Fantasy Sports operators do business in Connecticut, including DraftKings and FanDuel. Players must be 18 or older to participate.
The state legalized pari-mutuel wagering in 1971, but no thoroughbred track has operated in the state. Three jai-alai frontons and two greyhound tracks all ceased operations between 1995 and 2005.
Pari-mutuel gambling remains available at 16 off-track betting parlors across the state, at the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos, and horse betting is legal on national online platforms such as TVG, TwinSpires and DRF Bets.
Any deal to allow online sports betting in Connecticut will likely involve the tribes that own the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos, so expect both to unveil an online sportsbook and potential partnerships whenever a sports betting bill is passed.
Sportech, an international betting technology company that operates off-track betting venues in Connecticut, also wants the opportunity to offer online sports betting in the state. So does the Connecticut Lottery, which has the support of Gov. Ned Lamont.
It will depend on what the final bill allows, but wagering will likely be permitted on all the major pro and college sports as well as a large number of international sports. Previous bills did not allow wagering on in-state college teams, such as the University of Connecticut and Yale.
Only on pari-mutuel wagering and Daily Fantasy Sports. Online casino gambling and sports wagering are not permitted, though social gambling on social casino sites is perfectly legal.
The minimum age to wager at a casino is 21. It’s 18 for lottery and pari-mutuel wagering.
The two tribes that operate Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos have gaming compacts with the state that provide exclusive rights to casino gambling. The tribes are also jointly attempting to build an off-reservation casino in the state, which has been challenged in court.
No, but you will need to be physically located in Connecticut to place a wager. Online gambling accounts can be set up from anywhere.
These can be offers from offshore-based online gambling sites which are not regulated and should be avoided. Other offers may be from a growing number of social casinos, which offer free online slots or tables games for potential prizes with no real money required to play.
Casino gambling, pari-mutuel wagering, Daily Fantasy Sports and lottery are all allowed in Connecticut.
You can gamble at Foxwoods in Mashantucket and Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, two of the largest casino resorts in the U.S. Pari-mutuel wagering in Connecticut is available at 16 off-track betting facilities across the state.
No, sports betting is not legal in Connecticut.
The Department of Consumer Protection Gaming Division regulates legal gambling in Connecticut.
Yes, provided you are playing at a site that is licensed and regulated by the state, which will be responsible for ensuring fairness of all games and integrity and testing of electronic equipment.
All gambling winnings are subject to federal and Connecticut income tax. Connecticut state income tax is 6.99%. The state does not tax gambling winnings received in Connecticut by a non-resident.
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