Connecticut is set to become the latest state to legalize online casino gaming after the Senate recently approved a new gaming compact.
House Bill 6451 was on the table Tuesday night, and it passed by an approval vote of 28-6.
The bill will now head to the desk of Governor Ned Lamont, and he is expected to sign it into law quickly. The U.S. Department of Interior will also have to approve the new compact before online casino sites are able to launch.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe run the two casinos in the state, and they will be authorized to offer online casino games. These tribes agreed to the new compact with Governor Lamont months ago, but it still had to be approved by the state legislature first.
Online casino gaming, along with sports betting, has actually been separated from the gaming compact in an effort to get federal approval. In the end, this will still allow the tribes to offer the same thing, but this loophole should allow it to happen sooner.
Online casino revenue will be taxed at a rate of 18% for the first five years, and then it will jump up to 20%. Governor Lamont thanked both tribes for their work in these negotiations, and he believes this is great for his state.
While sports betting has seen tremendous growth in the United States since 2018, there have only been a handful of states that have legalized online casino gaming. This will allow Connecticut to position itself as a leader in the industry, at least until bigger states expand iGaming as well.
Sports betting was also a major focus of this bill, and retail sportsbooks can now be set up at Foxwoods Casino and the Mohegan Sun. The tribes have agreed to share an online skin that is with an approved operator of the state.
There will be up to 15 retail sportsbooks established throughout the state, but the tribes will get the first opportunity to launch.
Question About Online Poker
Even though poker is a game that is physically offered in most casinos, it is not automatically included with online casino gaming. In Connecticut, the question of online poker might not be answered until the first online casino launches.
There was never any mention of online poker in the legislation or gaming compact, and that means it could be interpreted either way. It is likely that the tribes will at least push to offer online poker rooms until someone steps in to stop them.
Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun both offer poker rooms at their casino properties, but online poker will likely be a small operation. Connecticut just isn’t as large as some other states, and there aren’t enough players for multiple online poker rooms.
There is a chance that Connecticut could strike a deal with other states to allow for interstate poker to widen the pool. Both Michigan and Pennsylvania have interstate poker included in the gaming compacts, but nothing has been established at this time.