Home of Yale University and ESPN, Connecticut is the third smallest state in the US as well as one of the most prosperous. It ranks second in terms of personal income per capita after the District of Columbia, with an average income of $79,000 per resident. The high income of the locals combined with the state’s dense population and relatively lenient attitude toward gambling make Connecticut a small hotbed of wagering activities.
Residents of the Nutmeg State have access to various legal forms of gambling. State-operated lotteries, casino gaming, pari-mutuel wagering, social and charitable gaming all enjoy a legal status here. Two tribal casinos call the state their home, the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville and Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket.
The two tribal gambling businesses provide employment to over 24,200 Connecticuters and annually contribute more than $768 million in taxes and tribal revenue share payments. Recent legislative changes paved the way for a gambling expansion in the state.
Locals can now wager on sports at retail locations as well as remotely via licensed sportsbook apps and websites. Online casino games are also regulated and legal in Connecticut, with players facing a broad choice of games, including slots, blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. Participating in daily fantasy contests is yet another alternative for Connecticuters who seek to gamble remotely.
Landbased Gambling Laws in Connecticut
Landbased gambling activities on the territory of Connecticut are governed by several pieces of legislation, including the Connecticut General Statutes, Public Act 17-89, and Public Act 17-161. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is the primary legislation that covers casino gaming on tribal lands within Connecticut. The Gaming Division within the Department of Consumer Protection oversees most forms of legal gambling in the Nutmeg State and enforces the state gambling laws.
Tribal Gaming Compact Terms and Requirements
Commercial casinos remain unavailable in Connecticut and the situation is unlikely to change soon now that the Tribal Winds project is officially on hold. Respectively, no licensing structure is in place for commercial gaming in the state. The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot operate in accordance with their compact terms.
Legal Status of Online Gambling
After several false starts, Connecticut Legislature finally legalized online gambling in May 2021 when HB6451 passed into law as Public Act 21-23. The legislation marked the first major update of local gaming laws since Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun opened doors in the 1990s. It ushered in a new era of interactive gaming, bringing legal online sports wagering and online casino games to Connecticuters.
Public Act 21-23 authorized the issuance of three master licenses for the Mohegan, the Mashantucket Pequot, and the state-sanctioned Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CT Lottery). Each entity can operate no more than one online sports wagering skin. The Mohegan Tribe teamed up with FanDuel, the Mashantucket Pequot chose DraftKings, and CT Lottery went for a partnership with SugarHouse.
Locals can punt on sporting events via online websites, dedicated mobile applications, at retail locations, or via designated betting kiosks at the tribal casino resorts. Punters seeking to place their wagers remotely can do so only if they are located within the state borders. Visitors of the Nutmeg State can join the action as well. Geolocation technology is in place to determine the whereabouts of the bettors. The minimum age requirement coincides with the legal age for alcohol consumption (21 years old).
Daily fantasy sports also became available to Connecticuters thanks to Public Act 21-23. The latter contains restrictionary provisions that prohibit the sportsbooks from accepting wagers on collegiate events if the participants are from Connecticut colleges or universities. Taking action on high-school games is off-limit as well.
The two tribal operators received authorization for the provision of regulated interactive casino games, including roulette, baccarat, blackjack, video poker, keno, and slots. The state lottery operator, however, is not permitted to offer remote gaming. Amendments were introduced to the two tribal compacts to allow for the new forms of gambling ushered in by the 2021 legislation.
Gambling Taxes in Connecticut
The two sovereign nations are subject to exclusivity fees for the provision of casino-style gaming in Connecticut. Each tribe must set aside 25% of the net revenue it generates from the operation of slot machines for tax purposes. The online slots and table games operated by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot are taxed at a rate of 18% of their gross revenue.
2Sports Betting Taxes
The tax money Connecticut collects from the two tribal nations goes toward the State General Fund. With that in mind, the state returns approximately $135 million of the tribal payments back to the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund. Retail sports betting at the tribal sportsbooks is taxed at 13.75%, while the taxes on online wagering revenue stand at 18%.
3Initial License and Renewal Fees
No license fees are imposed on the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino. However, companies that supply online gaming platforms to master licensees must pay initial licensing fees of $250,000 as well as annual fees of $100,000 for renewal.
Entities that contract with the master licensees to provide retail betting systems and equipment are charged initial application fees of $20,000. The same amount is due annually for the retailer license renewal. Connecticut sports wagering laws do not mandate any integrity payments to professional sports leagues.
4Allocation of Tribal Gambling Revenue
Under the requirements set forth in IGRA, the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan Tribe must use the tribal gambling funds to aid their communities and facilitate the development of the tribal economy.
A slice of the revenue is donated to local charity organizations while the rest goes toward local governmental agencies. Foxwoods also provides financial aid to addiction prevention and treatment programs like the Connecticut Council on Problem Gaming.
Responsible Gambling Policies in Connecticut
The minimum age for gambling participation in Connecticut coincides with that for the purchase of alcoholic drinks. This is to say Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods cannot admit any person under the age of 21 to their gambling facilities. Online players are subject to the same restrictions and undergo obligatory verification of their age and identity upon registration. Compact terms allow the two native casinos to serve complimentary alcoholic beverages to their patrons.
Gambling Regulators in Connecticut
The Gaming Division of the Department of Consumer Protection is the main watchdog that oversees gambling operations in Connecticut. The Division interacts with the two authorized tribes to ensure all gaming employees have obtained the necessary permits for the conduct of casino-style games. It also supervises the operation of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation to maintain the integrity of state-sanctioned lotteries.
Additionally, each sovereign nation has established a separate tribal gaming agency. The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Commission (MTGC) watches over the Mohegan Sun. It is assigned the responsibility of ensuring all gaming within the tribe’s reservation is conducted in line with the terms of the Mohegan compact. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Gaming Commission (MPTNGC) exercises regulatory oversight over all gambling operations conducted by the Mashantucket Pequot. Each gaming agency must report to its own tribal council.
And finally, there is the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) created under the provisions of IGRA. The NIGC is an independent oversight body that works with the US Departments of the Interior and Justice. The agency oversees all gambling activities from the Class II category as well as certain aspects of Class III gambling.
It provides training and technical aid to the individual tribal commissions. All tribes must submit their councils’ gaming ordinances to the NIGC for assessment and approval before they can operate any gambling facilities.
Connecticut offers somewhat limited options when it comes to landbased gambling, with no commercial casinos and two tribal casino resorts only. On the positive side of things, the Nutmeg State witnessed an expansion of online gambling thanks to recent changes in legislation that allowed for the legal and regulated provision of remote casino games, sports wagering, and daily fantasy contests. By the looks of it, Connecticut is set to become a worthy competitor on the interactive gambling scene as the state collected $1.7 million in tax revenue during the first month of regulated online sports betting and casino gaming alone.