Connecticut Poker Laws

Connecticut Poker Laws
Connecticut Gambling & Poker Laws
Last Updated March 26, 2018

Understanding Connecticut law regarding poker specifically (and gambling in general) isn't an impossible task.  Any poker player who wants to educate themselves about the law in Connecticut as it applies to online poker needs to do little besides set aside a bit of time and focus.  To get you started on the right track for researching the legality of poker in the state of Connecticut, here's our pocket guide to Connecticut gambling law, history, regulation and recent developments as well as which poker sites accept players from CT.

Latest Updates from Connecticut’s Online Poker Efforts

For several years, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe (operating Foxwoods) and Mohegan Tribe (operating Mohegan Sun) have advocated for online gaming, specifically online poker. In the absence of legislation regarding real-money sites, both casino operators have launched free-play gaming sites to link customers to their land-based properties. But their support for broad legislation has been made known to legislators for a number of years.

In 2018, Foxwoods signed an interactive gaming technology partnership with Pariplay to offer real-money gaming when players are on the casino property. Customers will be able to download the games, connect to some of the games offered in the casino, and play from their rooms, restaurants, pool, or anywhere on the property. While the offerings are not live yet, this indicates that Foxwoods is more than ready for online gaming legalization.

Meanwhile, several members of the Connecticut House of Representatives recently announced their intension to propose legislation that will expand gambling in the state. The proposals may include online lottery sales, sports betting reliant upon a positive result from New Jersey’s case awaiting a US Supreme Court decision, and online gaming.

In March 2018, the Public Safety and Security Committee held a public hearing to discuss gambling expansion. The most powerful testimony came from Foxwoods’ Executive Director of Online Gaming, who gave extensive testimony in support of online poker, casino games, and sports betting. Subsequently, Mohegan Sun’s representative did the same. This support is powerful in the eyes of the legislators.

Connecticut lawmakers are expected to sponsor several bills – or possibly an omnibus bill to encompass all proposals – in April or May, which will provide more information as to the exact games that will be discussed for legalization in 2018.

Online Poker in Connecticut

Connecticut has long been a hub for poker on the east coast, attracting poker players from both the region and the world with high-stakes cash games and a bounty of prestigious tournaments.  With that pedigree, it's little surprise that online poker is also quite popular in the state.  Thousands of people from Connecticut play poker online at a variety of online poker sites.  Here's some basic information you'll need if you're thinking about joining them.

Which Poker Sites Are Open to Players from CT?

It's important to understand that not every state in the US treats gambling in the same way.  As a result, online poker rooms often have policies that prohibit players from a certain state or set of states.  Thankfully for online poker players from Connecticut, the state rarely appears on such lists, meaning that it's easy for you to play poker for real money online if you're living in Connecticut.  Any one of our top picks for Connecticut players will work, as will the dozens of other poker sites that accept Connecticut players.

Poker Sites Open to Players From Your State
Bovada $500 Bonus 3-4 Day Payouts Accepts Visa, Bitcoin, Wires
Ignition $2000 Bonus 3-4 Day Payouts Accepts Visa, Bitcoin, Wires
Intertops $600 Bonus 5 Day Payouts Accepts Visa, Wires

 

Is Playing Online Poker Legal in Connecticut?

The ultimate answer to this question is one that can only come from a qualified legal source.  We're not attempting to offer a definitive answer; instead, our goal is to inform you about some basic facts regarding Connecticut law, provide additional resources for reading and hopefully get you closer to an answer along the way.  The official version of Connecticut statutes can be reviewed here .

When you read Connecticut law, a few aspects seem salient to online poker:

  1. Connecticut defines gambling in a way that specifically includes the game of poker, a somewhat rare thing in state law.  According to state law, gambling means "risking any money, credit, deposit or other thing of value for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance or the operation of a gambling device, including the playing of a casino gambling game such as blackjack, poker, craps, roulette or a slot machine" (Section 53-278a(2)).  Unlike other state laws that leave some ambiguity (and therefore potential legal wiggle room) when it comes to poker, Connecticut law is abundantly clear on the matter.
  2. Engaging in behavior that qualifies as gambling under Connecticut law is a crime.  Specifically, it's a violation of Section 52-278b, which makes is a class B misdemeanor to engage in gambling, encourage others to gamble or even to simply be present while others are gambling.
  3. Connecticut, like several states, has an older law aimed at curtailing phone-based sports betting that could be read as applicable to online activity.  Section 52-278d makes it a class A misdemeanor if you send or receive "gambling information" by "telephone, telegraph, radio, semaphore or other means.'
  4. Additional penalties exist for those who organize, promote or operate gambling as a business, referred to as "professional gambling" in Connecticut law.  While the term seems odd to some, it does not refer to someone who makes a living by gambling as a player.  Rather, per Connecticut law, it only applies to those profiting from the business of gambling.

Will Connecticut Regulate Online Poker?

It seems more likely than ever that Connecticut will legalize and regulate online poker in the coming years. With its neighbors – Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – operating online poker and casino games, it makes sense that Connecticut is now considering offering the same options in order to stay competitive. There are also interstate compacts to share online poker player pools and internet slot jackpots, which is even more appealing for lawmakers in Connecticut. And with the powerful tribes of the state supportive of online gaming, chances are even better that it will happen.

Connecticut in the News
  • No Online Poker for Connecticut in 2018
    May 12th, 2018

    Connecticut became a strong contender for legalized and regulated online gaming in the spring of 2018. It’s potential pairing with sports betting legislation as well as strong support from the state’s two gaming tribes increased the possibility that Connecticut could make progress this year. However, the regular legislative session ended on May 9 without...

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  • Connecticut Chaos Hurts Online Gaming Chances
    April 24th, 2018

    Last month, the two casino giants in Connecticut spoke in favor of legalizing online gambling and sports betting. Since then, however, any hopes that the state’s gambling industry may expand in 2018 are fading more quickly than expected. The most obvious obstacle seems to be the end of the current session approaching on May...

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  • Foxwoods Speaks Strongly for Connecticut Online Gaming
    March 19th, 2018

    Several weeks ago, Connecticut came out of the shadows with ideas to expand gambling throughout the state. Bills to legalize sports betting and an online lottery were among the pieces of legislation on the table. The latest development is that Foxwoods, a massive tribal casino entity in the state, came out with enthusiastic support...

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Connecticut Gambling Facts

Connecticut's emergence as a gambling haven is relatively recent, but the state's history with gambling goes back hundreds of years.  Lotteries were a popular format for entertainment and raising funds for public projects during the state's early days.  In the 1900s, Connecticut embarked on a slow but steady gambling expansion focused primarily around charitable gambling for the first half of the century.  As the rest of the US loosened gambling restrictions, Connecticut followed suit.  The lottery officially returned to Connecticut in 1972, with pari-mutuel wagering coming in 1976 and tribal casinos opening their doors to state residents and visitors in the 1990s.

Regulated Gambling in Connecticut: The Basics

The only major regulated gambling option missing from Connecticut: Commercial casinos, a gap more than filled by the massive tribal resort casinos that dot the state's geography.  As mentioned above, the state lottery and pari-mutuel wagering are also available in Connecticut, although the state does not have any functioning race tracks as of the time of this guide.  Charitable gambling is available in multiple formats, including bingo, raffles and sealed tickets.  It was legal, once upon a time, to hold "Vegas Nights" at a charitable event, but that ability was ended by state action in 2003.

What Type of Gaming Is Regulated by the State?

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) was legalized in 2017, but it is not regulated yet as implementation of the law requires agreements with Native American tribes. Most expect this to be finalized in 2018. The state is looking at the possibilities of offering online lottery ticket sales in 2018, as well as sports betting, the latter of which is contingent upon the ruling of the United States Supreme Court regarding a case brought by the state of New Jersey. In addition, online poker and casino games are being proposed in 2018, so many possibilities have opened this year and remain to be discussed and debated in the coming months.

The state of Connecticut has yet to introduce any regulated online gambling controlled directly by a state agency, although one assumes that online lotto sales must be on the state's radar.  As for poker, our analysis is that Connecticut will likely give in to tribal and economic pressure and offer a regulated poker site within the next three years.

Connecticut Gambling: Useful Links

Gambling in Connecticut :  A white paper, prepared for the state in 2009, provides a comprehensive and detailed look at gambling's role in the state on economic and social levels.  While now a few years old, the guide is still an excellent starting point for understanding the complex environment of Connecticut gambling.

Department of Consumer Protection :  The gaming division of this state agency oversees all things gambling in Connecticut.  One-stop-shop for gambling law, statistics, regulatory questions and problem gambling help.

Mohegan Tribe :  Operates the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.  Learn about tribal history and current positions on issues like online poker.

Helpful Gambling Resources and Links