Connecticut Expands Gambling, Legalizes Online Poker

On Thursday this week, Governor Ned Lamont approved House Bill 6451. The bill legalizes online poker and sports wagering in Connecticut. Although the bill has already passed the House, Senate and received approval from the Governor, final approval is expected by the Department of Interior.

Governor Ned Lamont approves House Bill 6451

Last week, Connecticut’s ongoing gambling expansion moved one step forward. In a 122-21 vote, the House approved a gambling expansion bill. Consequently, earlier this week, in a 28-6 vote, the Senate approved House Bill 6451, leaving the gambling expansion just one signature away.

Now, on Thursday this week, Governor Ned Lamont approved the bill as well. Under the gambling expansion bill, Connecticut legalizes online poker. Furthermore, the bill legalizes more gambling activities that are already offered by the two tribal operators at the Mohegan’s Mohegan Sun and the Mashantucket Pequot’s Foxwoods venues.

Under Governor Lamont’s newly signed gambling expansion, Connecticut also legalizes sports betting and fantasy contests. The bill allows the activity to be offered by the Connecticut Lottery and the two tribal operators.

Final Approval to Be Given by DoI

Before Connecticut can launch online poker and sports wagering, final approval is expected by the Department of Interior. DoI’s Bureau of Indian Affairs is expected to review and approve the changes to the state-tribal gambling compact, before the launch of sports wagering and online poker games.

Although there is no specific timetable for the approval process, the approval may likely happen in a few weeks. This in other words means that Connecticut sports fans may be able to wager legally just in time for the NFL kick-off in September.

Modern Gaming Arrives in Connecticut

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation’s chairman, Rodney Butler shared his excitement about the recent development in a statement. He acknowledged that the agreement brings the “new modern era of gaming” to Connecticut. Furthermore, Butler stressed that with the help of the agreement, the state-tribal partnership solidifies.

James Gessner Jr., Mohegan Tribal Council chairman said that the recent gambling expansion is “a major accomplishment“. Furthermore, he stressed that the “advantages of these changes will be felt statewide”. Last but not least, Gessner said that the benefits of the expansion will be present for tribal members and Connecticut residents at a time when the state is trying to recover from the pandemic.

Governor Lamont also shared his excitement in a statement. He revealed that he is confident that the federal government will approve the amendments to the state-tribal compact. Furthermore, Lamont acknowledged that once this happens, “a modernized, 21st-century gaming experience” may be launched in Connecticut soon.