Connecticut Scrambles To Open Sports Betting Before NFL Season

  • Connecticut’s Regulations Review Committee has approved sports betting regulations.
  • These regulations are emergency regulations, set to expire in 180 days.
  • CT is still awaiting approval from the Department of the Interior regarding reworked tribal compacts.

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut has approved rules for legal sports betting and online gambling in the state.

This approval comes fairly late in the process - they now need to wait for a decision from the United States Department of the Interior’s Indian Affairs Bureau, as the form that sports betting regulation in CT is taking involves reworking tribal compacts with local native tribes.

This decision from the IAB could take up to 45 days - as happened in the case of Florida - which could delay the launch of sports betting in Connecticut.

Time Crunch Before NFL Season

The industry is on something of a time crunch. The NFL season kicks off on Sept. 9, 2021, and that is the most profitable betting season in America.

However, Connecticut got ahead of the process, and submitted their documents in late July, according to Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler.

Butler noted that he expected the decision from the Department of the Interior within the next few weeks, which would allow the state to get sports betting up and running much faster.

“We expect action from the federal Department of Interior within the next two weeks on the compact amendments submitted in late July, and it is our understanding that once that approval comes, the state Department of Consumer Protection will issue master wagering licenses,” Butler said in a statement. “With the NFL season kickoff fast approaching, we are working to launch online gaming and sports betting as soon as we are legally allowed to do so.”

Emergency Regulations

These regulations were fast tracked, and are valid for only 180 days. The purpose of them seems to be to get the industry set up, and then problems will be fixed after the fact.

The state does not want to miss out on one of the biggest revenue drivers of the year, NFL season, because of process issues.

The regulations passed the Regulations Review Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly in a 9-4 vote, with one absence.

Those who voted against reflected a desire to take it slow with Connecticut sports betting, and not rush the process in pursuit of greater profits.

For example, the AP quoted State Sen. John Kissel (R-Enfield), one of those who voted against the emergency regulations, on his desire to walk instead of run.

“(In) the land of steady habits, I’d rather walk instead of run. I don’t see a race here,” Kissel said. “We’re behind other states as it is. I’d rather get it right.”