Online sports betting expected to launch in Connecticut Oct. 7

Photo of Julia Bergman
The Oct. 7 NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams is expected to be the first opportunity for online sports betting in Connecticut. (Photo Illustration by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images/TNS)

The Oct. 7 NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams is expected to be the first opportunity for online sports betting in Connecticut. (Photo Illustration by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images/TNS)

Bruno Vincent / TNS

The Oct. 7 NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams is expected to be the first opportunity for online sports betting in Connecticut.

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes and the Connecticut Lottery Corp. will all launch their online sportsbooks on that date, if they submit required documents in time, Kaitlyn Krasselt, a spokeswoman for the Department of Consumer Protection, confirmed Friday.

Regulations for the new industry call for a “soft launch,” which must span at least a week, during which time a third-party independent expert hired by the state will examine all the online wagering platforms to ensure they are in compliance ahead of the official start date.

The expansion of gaming in Connecticut is years in the making. Gov. Ned Lamont, upon signing legislation in the spring legalizing online gaming and sports wagering, targeted the start of the NFL season on Sept. 9 to have the industry up and running.

The expected Oct. 7 launch date would enable betting to start during the fifth week of the NFL season.

“Everybody knows that football is the most popular sport in America. It’s understandable that people wanted it to be up for the start of the season,” said Max Reiss, the governor’s spokesman. “However, what this administration never lost sight of was making sure that every element of this launch is ready to go, not just for one particular week of a football season but for decades to come.”

Just hours before kickoff on Sept. 9, the state announced the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs approved new gaming contracts between the state and the two tribes - a major step in allowing the expansion of gaming to happen here.

The approval for the Mohegan compact was published in the federal register Wednesday. As of Friday afternoon, the Mashantuckets compact had yet to be published.

Mashantucket chairman Rodney Butler said Friday he expects the tribe’s approval to be published imminently. Butler said the Oct. 7 date applies to online sports wagering and that in-person sports betting could be offered sooner. His tribe’s Foxwoods Resort Casino will have a permanent sportsbook by the middle of October, with a temporary space ready to go in a couple weeks, he said.

“To see the end of the tunnel is a pretty exciting spot to be at,” Butler said.

DCP still needs to issue master wagering licenses to the two tribes and the lottery as well as licenses for vendors and suppliers.

Ray Pineault, President & CEO of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, said in a statement Friday that it continues to work closely with DCP and the state to ensure Mohegan Sun rolls out sports wagering “in an appropriate manner.”

“We are preparing for an October 7th launch of our mobile sports wagering and IGaming offerings,” Pineault said. “However, we are also prepared to adjust our timing should circumstances dictate. ”

The lottery is on track to launch both retail and online sports betting on Oct. 7, according to spokeswoman Tara Chozet. Three retail locations are expected to be ready by that date - the two Bobby V’s in Stamford and Windsor Locks, and Sports Haven in New Haven.

“The other seven locations that we previously announced will begin taking bets in the weeks to follow,” Chozet said by email Friday.

The lottery has announced 10 of the 15 locations its authorized to operate.

The process for launching online casino games in Connecticut is separate from sports betting with unknown timelines.

julia.bergman@hearstmediact.com