Massachusetts sports bettors now have a new state border they can cross to place a bet using their phones, as Connecticut launched online wagering Tuesday both for sports betting and casino games.
The Massachusetts Legislature is still hashing out sports betting legislation, with no bill expected to be sent out in the immediate future.
In Connecticut, DraftKings is partnering with Foxwoods Resort Casino, FanDuel with Mohegan Sun, and PlaySugarHouse with the state lottery. Now, anyone 21 years or older can drive into the Nutmeg State and place a sports bet or play some blackjack by the side of the road.
Asked what kind of action will come from Massachusetts bettors, DraftKings president and co-founder Matt Kalish said, “I believe it will be really strong. It’s hard to speculate on exactly what we’ll see.
“Whenever there’s a ‘halo’ of states, in this case Connecticut, that don’t offer legal regulated sports betting, we see a lot of customers traveling in to make bets who live around the border, and certainly also tourists who are visiting the state. We see a lot of that one-time-play behavior when people are just in town visiting relatives or whatever the intentions are there.”
New Hampshire and Rhode Island already offer some version of online sports betting. New York has passed sports betting legislation but has not finalized what online sports betting will look like. Vermont is not actively considering sports legislation. Thirty-two states have legalized sports betting.
The NFL generates the bulk of the action with sports wagering, and with Week 7 coming up, Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (which owns and operates Foxwoods), expressed relief that Connecticut will be able to offer more than half a season of games to bettors.
“It was incredibly important,” said Butler. “Our original goal was to launch at the beginning of the football season. We knew that was a stretch goal, but we felt like we needed everyone to stay focused and pushing towards that in order to get this off the ground sooner rather than later.”
Connecticut became the 15th state in which Boston-based DraftKings has an online betting presence.
Connecticut’s online sports betting product had a soft launch one week ago, with 750 bettors per skin, or online app, allowed to bet. Retail betting began at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in late September.
The lottery will be able to operate 15 other retail sports betting sites. Two already approved are Bobby V’s sports bar/restaurants, owned by former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
Betting on Connecticut college sports teams will be legal only for tournaments.
Online gaming, which, like sports betting, has to be approved by a state legislature, is on a much slower track nationwide than sports betting.
Connecticut becomes the seventh state to implement casino gaming, joining New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, and Nevada.