The Connecticut Lottery took its first step today toward competing with two tribal casinos for residents looking to place a wager on a sporting event.
“This agreement guarantees that Connecticut Lottery at least $170 million over the 10-year term. We expect that to be just the start,” Lottery Chairman Rob Simmelkjaer said.
Simmelkjaer said they chose Rush Street Interactive to operate its online sports betting operation.
“Our belief they will help us compete effectively against the other parties we know will be in the state with the two tribal licensees as well,” he said.
Connecticut threw open the door to online gaming and sports betting in May. The general assembly signed off on a three-way revenue-sharing pact agreed upon by Gov. Ned Lamont, the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegan Tribal Nation. They are still waiting on the Bureau of Indian Affairs to sign off on the agreement.
The Mashantucket Pequots have chosen Draftkings and the Mohegan Tribal Nation has chosen Fanduel to operate its sports betting.
“They have a great track record of competing effectively. They have a great track record in terms of integrity in every state they’ve done business in,” Simmelkjaer said of Rush Street Interactive.
The Connecticut Lottery also awarded Sportech, which operates Connecticut's off-track-betting establishments in the state a contract to operate 10 of the 15 retail locations.
“Our ability to offer sports betting in these retail locations with an experienced operator like Sportech is a big step in achieving our goal in offering retail sports wagering within a 30-minute drive for most Connecticut residents,” Simmelkjaer said.
Ted Taylor, president of Sportech, who had threatened to sue the state if it didn’t give the company a license, was pleased with the outcome.
“We are primed and ready to establish an operation that includes sports, lottery and pari-mutuel gaming all under one roof and to promote the CLC online platform. Our team is very excited to play a key role in this historic moment for the state as sports betting becomes a reality for Connecticut,” Taylor said in a statement.
There are still five more locations to be announced including locations in Hartford and Bridgeport.
Simmelkjaer said the lottery and Rush Street Interactive may operate the five last retail locations collectively.
“Also their success in retail was a big factor. We believe that our retail footprint is a huge advantage that we have in this competition we’re going to be entering into with our friends the tribal nations,’ Simmelkjaer says.
RSI President Richard Schwartz said, “we are very pleased to be chosen by the Connecticut lottery to bring sports betting to the state in what was a very professional smooth and efficient selection process.”
Rush Street Interactive operates in Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.
“This further solidifies RSI’s deep roots in the tri-state region where New Jersey was the first state we brought our online gaming platform to in 2016,” he added.