Connecticut Becomes Seventh State to Pass Online Poker

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signing the all-important bill

Connecticut legalized online gaming, including casino and online poker, last week. Governor Ned Lamont (D) signed House Bill 6451 thus making Connecticut the seventh state to legalize online casino and poker.

The bill is ground-breaking for Connecticut residents not least because it opens many doors for them. The bill amends Class III gaming compacts, paving the way for legalized online and in-person sports betting, keno, online lotteries, and Fantasy Sports contests.

There are two tribes within Connecticut, the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. Both currently run the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos respectively. Both are clear to offer all forms of online games. However, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation is permitted to offer online sports betting and lotteries only.

Governor Lamont spoke about his decision to sign the bill in a press release.

“By signing this bill into law, Connecticut is now on the cusp of providing a modern, technologically advanced gaming experience that will be competitive with our neighboring states and positions us for success into the future. I am confident that the federal government will see fit to approve these amendments to our compact, and in the coming months we can launch a modernized, 21st-century gaming experience in Connecticut.”

Online Gambling Is a Big Deal To The Connecticut Bank Balance

It is not surprising seeing Connecticut legalize online gaming because the state is in serious debt. “The Constitution State” ranks third of all U.S. states for its Debt Ratio (Total debts/Total assest) which stood at an incredible 334.9% in November 2020. Only New Jersey (441.7%) and Illinois (468.7%) are in a worse financial situation.

Online gaming is potentially lucrative to the state. Both Mohegan and Mashantucket Tribes and the Connecticut Lottery Corporation agreed to monthly payments of 13.75-20% of their gross revenues derived from online activities. Furthermore, the state levies both tribes with a $500,000 annual payment. The Connecticut Lottery Corporation agreed to a $1 million annual fee. Organisations helping combat problem gambling benefit from the annual payments.

James Gessner Jr., the Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman, is looking forward to offering online gaming.

“The Mohegan Tribe is thankful to Governor Ned Lamont and our partners in the General Assembly for their cooperative efforts to legalize online gaming and sports wagering, efforts that will keep Connecticut competitive with surrounding states when it comes to gaming entertainment. This is a major accomplishment, reached with overwhelming bipartisan support. The advantages of these changes will be felt statewide, to the benefit of Connecticut residents and our tribal members, at a time when our governments are collectively working to recover from the pandemic and provide vital services.”

What To Expect in the Coming Months

Governor Lamont signing the bill into law is the first step to seeing online poker played throughout his state. Several companies already offer their services to the state’s residents, including Ignition, BetOnline, and Bovada. Expect some European big hitters to want a slice of the action, too.

There are 3.6 million potential customers in Connecticut, which places it above other states offering online poker. It is larger, in terms of population, than Delaware, Nevada, and West Virginia, but trails Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

We fully expect the likes of partypoker US and PokerStars to at least investigate the possibility of offering their products. Joining an interstate compact is another distinct possibility. There is no mention of interstate gambling within the bill. However, it is likely because both customers and each state benefit from such a compact.

The next step requires the federal government to approve the edited compacts. The federal government has 45 days from receiving the necessary paperwork to complete the process. Using other states as a guideline, it is likely to be another year before real money games are up and running.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.

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