Connecticut Awaits Final iGaming and Poker Rule Approvals
It looks like the state of Connecticut may finalize its new online gaming rules in the coming days. This means the regulatory framework will be in place and Connecticut online casinos and online poker could become a reality by 2022.
The launch of actual igaming and poker sites will be another process, but the rules approval will allow the new gambling sector in Connecticut to move forward.
Officially, though, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont made the bill become a law on May 27, 2021. It brought years of work and legal wrangling, delays and compacts to the point of a final product. That document legalized online casino gaming, retail and online sports betting, fantasy sports contests, keno, and online lottery ticket sales. And included in the casino gaming part was peer-to-peer table games, better known as online poker.
And it made Connecticut the seventh state in America to legalize state-regulated igaming and online poker, following Nevada (poker only), New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia (no poker sites launched yet), and Michigan.
I was proud to sign this landmark piece of legislation into law today. Modernizing our gaming marketplace has been a long time coming, and I’m thankful for the partnerships we forged that helped make this happen.@MoheganSun @FoxwoodsCT @mariahornct @CathyOsten pic.twitter.com/a6OMg4uGW0
— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) May 27, 2021
Latest Moves in Connecticut
After the dust settled around the new Connecticut gambling expansion bill, Secretary of State Denise Merrill’s office took over. Specifically, the Department of Consumer Protections, headed up by Commissioner Michelle Seagull, took charge of drafting a set of emergency regulations to move things along more quickly.
The purpose of the regulations is to create the licensing structure, draft provisions for responsible gaming and data privacy protections, and outline consumer safety and gaming integrity steps. Importantly, Seagull needed some approvals of the draft regulations to allow the state to issue igaming and sports betting licenses to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut. In addition, the state would authorize the Connecticut Lottery to operate up to 15 retail sports wagering facilities.
When the draft was ready, it moved rather expeditiously.
-Seagull sent emergency regulations to Lamont for approval
-Lamont approved regulations and emergency process
-Seagull sent approved draft regulations to Legislation Regulation Review Committee (LRRC)
-LRRC meeting set for August 31, 2021 to issue decision
Next week, the legislative committee will issue its decision regarding the regulations. Unless some unforeseen circumstances arise, the LRRC will approve them.
CONNECTICUT: Last week the CT regulator released draft rules for #iGaming and #sportsbetting. We can expect launch in the early Fall making it the 6th state with full iGaming and sports betting. See the regs here: https://t.co/FHww8998MQ
— iDEA Growth (@iDEA_Growth) August 23, 2021
Draft Regulations Not for Casual Reading
The regulations for the new igaming industry are available for reading, but it is an 82-page document. It defines and details the nitty-gritty rules for the industry that Connecticut hopes to launch soon. It isn’t something to take read poolside on a relaxing day, but there are some important points.
Licenses can be issued to the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, and Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut. Each will confirm their partners: online gaming operators and service providers, and sports wagering retailers. They must all submit applications for licenses.
All electronic wagering platforms must use geofencing technology to ensure that online users are located within Connecticut.
Each customer may have only one igaming account for each operator and wagering platform. Operators must implement mechanisms that will prohibit banned players, self-excluded, and underage players. Operators must also protect the information of every igaming customer. Online gaming operators must segregate player funds from operational funds. In other words, don’t do what Full Tilt Poker did.
Players may fund their accounts via several methods:
–electronic funds transfer from bank account
–credit/debit card, not through payment gateway or third-party payment processor
–winnings or prize
–travelers check (do these still exist?)
–operator adjustment with proper notification
All customers must have access to easy ways to limit their own betting via deposit caps, individual and cumulative wager maximums, and time-based limitations. There are numerous responsible gambling requirements, such as displays of gambling help hotlines and ample employee training.
Specific to online poker, licensees can use celebrities and players to play in those peer-to-peer games for advertising and publicity purposes.
Will Online Poker Launch in CT?
Each tribe may obtain one master wagering license for one online sports wagering skin, one online casino gaming skin, and one fantasy contest portal. The online casino skin can include online poker. And since both Connecticut tribes offer prominent poker rooms in their land-based casinos (Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun) and know the potential for online poker, they will likely do so.
Online casino games will launch first. But those partners may indicate who will become their online poker partners.
The Mohegan Tribe is partnering with FanDuel, which operates under parent company Flutter Entertainment. If that sounds familiar, it is because Flutter owns PokerStars.
The Mashantucket Pequots do not have ties to an online poker provider. However, Chairman Rodney Butler recently told PlayCT that his goal is to enter a multi-state agreement. He knows that liquidity is the key to making online poker a success. “We only have 3.5 million people in the state of Connecticut, and how many of those are going to play poker online? So we’re going to need to have those agreements with either other states or other tribes.”
This might make the WSOP online site a particularly attractive one because it is the only one – so far – that operates across state lines in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Connecticut will offer state-licensed online poker, though it may not become a reality until 2022.
— Ifrah Law (@ifrahlaw) July 15, 2021
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