The Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) has received 15 responses to its request for sports betting qualifications. The state gaming regulator had sent out a Request for Qualifications package on April 12 with a deadline of April 23. The request was calling for “qualified and experienced sports betting solution providers for online and retail sports wagering systems and services.”
The move comes after Governor Ned Lamont reached an agreement last month with both the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes that will open the doors for legal sports betting to begin. Governor Lamont has gone on record as saying that he would prefer to see legal sports wagering begin in time for the kick-off of the NFL season in the fall.
Sports betting legislation pending in the state’s General Assembly seeks to give exclusive sports betting rights to the CLC and the tribes, who operate the Foxwoods Resort Casino (already with an agreement with DraftKings in place) and the Mohegan Sun (in partnership with Kambi’s Unibet Group).
Regulators Happy with the Quality of Responses Received
While the identity of the 15 respondents was not released, the state regulator was happy with the standard of applications received. According to the Chairman of the CLC, Rob Simmelkjaer;
“We are pleased to see significant interest from companies who would like to partner with the CLC to bring our online and retail sports betting offering to market. Our staff and board will now begin a process of carefully reviewing the qualifications of the submitting parties as we work towards choosing the right partner in this important initiative for our state,” Simmelkjaer said.
All 15 respondents are quality sports betting operators and as such, were able to respond to the agency’s request for qualifications. Now, the respondents will go through a number of presentations to the CLC in order to see if they meet the agency’s stringent standards and requirements. Should they move forward within the process, finalists will be invited to a selection panel in order to present their formal business plans for becoming sports betting operators in the state of Connecticut.
What Now? When might Connecticut Sports Betting Begin?
A tentative timeline was included in the regulator’s Request for Qualification that estimates that contracts with operators are expected to be signed somewhere between mid-May and mid-June, and the state’s sports betting system will be developed and tested throughout the summer. The timeline indicates that Connecticut Sports Betting could begin on September 6.
“The CLC will move as quickly as possible to position itself for immediate launch once all necessary authorizations and approvals are in place,” the Request for Qualification reads. It also lays down the requirement that the Connecticut General Assembly must still adopt the sports betting legislation under State Law, state-level regulations must be adopted, and the amendments to the tribes’ revenue-sharing compacts with the Connecticut State Government must be approved and finalized by the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The CLC regulated online sports betting channel is expected to be offered through a geotechnology protected online and mobile platform (allowing only for legal online sports wagering within Connecticut state lines), while the land-based sportsbook channel of operation is expected to be operated in up to 15 retail locations across the state, including at least one, in each of Bridgeport and Hartford, according to the CLC news release.
If approved and once up-and-running, Connecticut is set to become the third New England state to launch sports betting, behind New Hampshire and the Ocean State of Rhode Island. Three more states in the New England region — Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont — are also exploring legalizing sports betting as legislative debate continues.