It was one big happy family in the Nutmeg state when all the pieces of the online gaming package came together. Finally, the amendment to the original gambling pact with the tribes is a reality. In addition, it will give Connecticut a distinct advantage. iGaming Will Put Connecticut On Top In New England.
For previous background – the Ongoing Saga of Sports Betting in New England
The Amendment to Exclusivity
The agreement reached in March of 2021 amended the state pact that gave Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino exclusive gambling rights in Connecticut for almost thirty years. Here are specifics about online gaming and sports betting:
- It will allow the Connecticut Lottery, in cooperation with both tribal entities, to run sports betting,
- Under the agreement, the CT government will tax all online casino gaming, including online poker, at 18% for the first five years before increasing to 20% for the following five years.
- All sports betting revenue will be taxed at 13.75%.
- The Connecticut Lottery will have the right to operate 15 retail onsite locations and one online sportsbook. Two of the retail locations will be located in Hartford and Bridgeport.
- the CT Lottery will be licensing Sportech (OTB) for sports betting in brick-and-mortar locations, not online. The 10 Sportech sites will be in Hartford, Manchester, Milford, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, Torrington, Waterbury and Windsor Locks. They will announce five more sites later, including an additional location in Hartford and one in Bridgeport. Hartford’s XL Center is a possible location for the Hartford gambling venue.
What is iGaming?
iGaming or online gaming is wagering money or some other value on the outcome of an event or a game using the internet. The iGaming activities include poker, online casinos, sports betting, etc.; the largest market share comprises casino games and sports betting.
The ability to bet using a mobile device outside the sportsbook has been a pivotal addition to sports betting in Rhode Island. But the ability to play casino games with real money anywhere in the state puts Connecticut on top in New England. So while legal sports betting brings more gamblers through the doors, iGaming provides a substantial financial benefit.
Six states have legalized iGaming: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Nevada, and Michigan. Michigan recently launched iGaming and sports betting as the 6th state.
iGaming Will Put Connecticut On Top In New New England
The Benefits of the Deal
Mark Pazniokas of the CTMirror, reported, “…not only would sports betting be legal, but every smartphone and computer would be a portal to wagering on sports, playing casino games, and purchasing CT Lottery tickets. In addition, the lottery, whose contributions to the state coffers continue to grow as the casino revenues shrink, would be allowed to offer sports betting, along with the tribes.”
iGaming vs. Social Casinos
What Is a Social Casino?
A social casino is an app or website where you can play popular casino games like roulette, video poker, slots, and blackjack with your online friends. You can play by downloading an app for your mobile device or downloading an app for your computer. Despite the name, an important distinction is that you’re not gambling when you play at a social casino. You don’t bet real money when you play, and you don’t get real money when you win. The games are for entertainment purposes only.
Social casinos are free to download and play, though they often make their money through in-game purchases. Many of them use virtual coins to lay bets on the games. When you’re out of cash, you can’t play again until you get more, which often happens on a daily or hourly basis.
Pros & Cons of Social Casinos and Online Casinos
If you’re trying to decide whether to play a social casino or an online casino, here are some pros and cons of each.
- Not really gambling
- Legal in jurisdictions where online gambling is prohibited
- Available to people who don’t gamble for moral, religious, or other personal reasons
- No monetary risk
- Larger game variety
- Can play where and when you want via apps
- Good way to hone your skills
- Involves real gambling
- Not legal in some jurisdictions
- Moral implications
- Can lose a lot of money
- Limited corpus of games
New England Casinos and Their Social Casinos
Social casinos do give players the ability to earn comps, depending on the casino. For example, MGM’s MyVegas has been the leader in available comps over the years and offers six different casinos, including slots, blackjack, and even bingo.
- Encore Boston Harbor – Wynn Slots
- Foxwoods – Foxwoods Online
- Hollywood Bangor & Plainridge Casino – myChoice Casino
- MGM – MyVegas
- Mohegan Sun – OnlineCasino.com
- Bally’s (Twin River & Tiverton) – Twin River Social Casino
Problem Gambling Concerns
Consumers can use credit or debit cards or pay using Apple, Venmo, or PayPal easy, quick, and touchless way. Unfortunately, easy payments can lead to excessive betting, the legislature’s primary issue in approving expanded gambling in Connecticut. Like Massachusetts, Connecticut lawmakers want to get it right at first during what many feel were a rushed decision.
The Connecticut legislature is likely to consider whether Connecticut should follow Massachusetts, New Jersey, and other states that have regulated gambling with a commission whose sole responsibility is gaming. Safeguards against problem gambling got relatively little attention during the Connecticut General Assembly’s legalization debate in May. Unfortunately, this left those details to Consumer Protection, the agency responsible for regulating gambling.
“We built into the regulations a lot of ways for people to start maybe recognizing just how much they’re doing…”Michelle Seagull, the consumer protection commissioner
A voluntary self-exclusion program operated by the Department of Consumer Protection will enable anyone to bar themselves from virtual gambling for one year, five years, or life. Emergency rules must be replaced in the next six months by regulations open to public input and a more rigorous legislative review.
At that time, there is an immediate opportunity to tweak the process if something is brought to attention. In addition, an opportunity for input will be provided if there’s more to be done.
Both tribal leaders said they’re hopeful for another essential benefit of this agreement. This legislation will lead to the return of thousands of employees laid off over a year ago. The two resorts each have about 3,000 workers currently back on the job. Before COVID-19, each had about 5,000 employees. So it should help to bring those employees back.
Connecticut will be back on top, offering more to its residents than just two fabulous casinos. And hopefully, those casinos will find ways to flourish again.