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Catching Up On Connecticut’s First Month of Legalized Sports Betting

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It was a big first month for sports betting in Connecticut. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images via AFP.

The idea of legal sports betting took some time to catch on in the state of Connecticut. Since its legalization in October however, it has been a boom of betting in the state.

Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection published its first-ever sports betting revenue report Wednesday. It showed that there was encouraging sports betting activity with the state’s three operators — DraftKings, FanDuel, and SugarHouse. Those numbers not only act as a positive sign for the industry in the state but also act as vindication for lawmakers that had been pushing to bring about legalized sports betting to Connecticut.

“This first revenue collection for our state reinforces the process and approach by my administration when it came to ensuring our sports betting and iCasino platforms worked seamlessly for consumers,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. “We worked tirelessly with our casino and state partners to ensure Connecticut consumers would have positive user experiences across platforms and that is exactly what these results illustrate.”

October’s Figures

Connecticut’s October legal sports betting figures were tempered by the fact that the state’s sportsbooks endured a restrictive “soft launch” from Oct. 12-19 and only had the shackles taken off after that. The sports betting numbers are in essence derived from less than two weeks of full-blown betting in the state.

DraftKings, FanDuel, and SugarHouse were still able to report a $54.6 million total sports betting handle. It’s a respectable number considering that sportsbooks in the state were only able to take advantage of two of the five weeks of NFL action.

In the first month, about $4.9 million in revenue was reported from the state’s first legal sports betting handle. About $513,000 in taxes was collected for state and local coffers off the profits thanks to a 13.75% tax rate. At the same time, $1.2 million in taxes was collected from the state’s online casino gaming platform and will go to the state’s general tax fund.

The Current Connecticut Market

The Connecticut legal sports betting market has already proven respectable. It should pick up as residents become familiar with their state’s platform and ultimately stay home to place a bet. New Jersey sportsbooks may be affected most when the Connecticut scene gets more established, and an expanded New York scene could be adversely affected as well.

The state of Connecticut is not the biggest of sports betting markets, but it should be robust. 3.565 million residents (29th in the nation) should provide for a decent overall wagering scene going forward.

Everyone Benefits

The impact of Connecticut’s legal sports betting legalization has yet to be felt. But there are some tangible benefits that were identified even before the platform went live.

James Gessner, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe commented before the soft launch that it will: “allow us to not only offer these new products to state residents but it will also in turn help protect Connecticut jobs and generate additional tax revenues to the benefit of state and local municipal budgets, as well as our tribe’s members. We’re excited to take this step, and we look forward to a full launch in the days ahead.”

Rodney Butler, Chairman of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal, which has partnered with DraftKings, added: “We’re encouraged by the early results showing a clear enthusiasm and interest in online sports betting and gaming in Connecticut. We’re proud to deliver new gaming experiences with DraftKings that also drive valuable revenue to the state. The engagement sets a promising benchmark, and we expect the momentum to only build as more consumers get in on the action, and the NFL season peaks over the coming months.”

Connecticut A Market On The Rise

Connecticut’s sports betting launch comes smack in the middle of high season for legal sports betting in America. The next few months will be buoyed by the NFL as well as college football, NBA, and college basketball.

“We’re off to a great start with this new gaming marketplace and we’re looking forward to years of success,” said state governor Ned Lamont.

Super Bowl and March Madness are on the horizon along with a few more months of intense NFL action. Expect Connecticut to keep raising eyebrows until the spring. Joining the US legal sports betting family when they did set the bar high. Hopes are that Connecticut sportsbooks can maintain the pace.