At first glance, the U.S. state of Connecticut isn’t exactly the Mecca of online gambling. But is that really the case? Connecticut’s two casinos, Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino, had to close doors during the first Covid-19 pandemic outbreak back in 2020. In the wake of this, several members of the state government asked Gov. Ned Lamont to allow the casinos to offer their customers online gambling options.
Initially, Lamont was against such a move. Still, as reopening was nowhere in sight, he tentatively greenlighted the suggestion. Lawmakers started hammering the legal framework that would allow the state government to reach separate deals with the casino owners, the Mohegan and the Mashantucket Pequot tribes.
Connecticut’s Two Casinos Only Offer Social Online Gambling
Mr. Lamont may have endorsed online gambling in Connecticut, but the deal is expected to become effective in late 2021 at the earliest.
For now, the customers of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, two of the largest casinos in the USA, can only enjoy social betting from the comfort of their hotel rooms.
In other words, they can play slots, table games, and roulette via their mobile devices for free, but they can only earn points that could eventually be exchanged for, quote, “…real Foxwoods rewards.”
Online Casino Games to Be Legalized in Late 2021
Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are expected to launch online table games and slots as soon as they are granted permission by the state’s online gambling authorities.
As social distancing prevents card players from playing at physical tables, the state’s two casinos are bracing up to offer online Poker and Blackjack tables to their customers. Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods already have huge poker communities, so their transition to online poker will be smooth.
Blackjack fans won’t be disappointed either. In addition to the traditional version of the game, they will enjoy specific online varieties such as Spanish 21, Blackjack Switch, and European Blackjack.
Connecticut is bracing to join the states where it is legal to play slots online for real money. Sure, nothing can replace the thrill of pulling the handle. Yet, pushing a virtual button while wearing your lucky pajamas at home could be just as fun, at least theoretically. Moreover, online slots boast huge libraries of different themes that players can switch between whenever they want.
Roulette fans in Connecticut will have to pin their hopes on an online number generator instead of a physical wheel.
What Types of Online Gambling Are Legal in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, one can only bet on daily fantasy sports and pari-mutuel wagering.
Fantasy sports operators wishing to do business in the state must first strike a deal with the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan tribes or the state lottery.
Two operators that have already reached such agreements with the online betting regulators in Connecticut are FanDuel and DraftKings.
Yahoo has recently decided to exit Connecticut’s online fantasy sports market, eventually giving in to Fan Duel-Draft-King’s duopoly.
For those who might not know it, pari-mutuel wagering is a form of betting where all bets are pooled together. The pool is then shared among all winning bets after the house has taken its share.
Although Connecticut has long traditions in pari-mutuel betting in the form of a state lottery and off-track horse betting, neither can be played online. In other words, one still has to go to the bookie’s physical location to place their bets.
Is Connecticut’s Move Towards Online Betting Too Late?
As the world is slowly opening up in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr. Lamont’s move to endorse online gambling in the state appears ‘too little, too late’. In this sense, C.T. is desperately trailing behind states like Colorado and Michigan, which managed to make hundreds of millions of dollars during the series of Covid lockdowns in 2020.
Casinos in Colorado have been allowed to offer online sportsbooks since May 2020, while Michigan’s governor signed a bill to legalize online casinos, online sports betting, and online card games in 2019. The MI gambling watchdog has so far approved two poker websites: PokerStars Michigan and BetMGM Poker MI.
No matter how many Covid variants will be discovered, the global vaccination campaign is picking up steam by the day. The U.S. is hardly likely to see new nationwide lockdowns in 2022, so the ten-year deal between Connecticut’s state government and the tribes will hardly make a difference.