Connecticut Enacts Emergency Sports Betting and iGaming Regulations, Awaits Federal Approval of Amended State-Tribal Gaming Compacts

On Tuesday, August 31, Connecticut’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee approved a set of emergency sports betting and iGaming regulations, which will be effective for the next 180 days while the state finalizes its permanent regulations.

The approval of emergency regulations is a significant step toward the statewide “launch” of expanded gaming in Connecticut. As we reported previously, although Connecticut’s expanded gaming law was enacted in May 2021, sports betting and iGaming operations cannot officially go “live” until (i) the state issues expanded gaming regulations; and (ii) the U.S. Department of the Interior approves the amended state-tribal gaming compacts negotiated alongside the expanded gaming legislation. Now that the emergency expanded gaming regulations are in place, timing for the statewide “launch” depends largely upon when the U.S. Department of the Interior issues its decision regarding the expanded gaming compacts. Gov. Ned Lamont submitted the amended compacts for Departmental review on July 27; pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Department has 45 days – or until September 10, 2021 – to render a decision.

The emergency regulations include provisions addressing licensing, responsible gaming and data privacy/protection. Among other things, the regulations provide clarification regarding the types of vendors that will be required to obtain Online Gaming Service Provider Licenses. Vendors that must be licensed include gaming software and equipment manufacturers, geolocation service providers, payment processors and integrity monitoring service providers. Notably, the service provider licensing rule includes a “catch-all” provision that gives the Department of Consumer Protection the authority to decide, on essentially a case-by-case basis, whether a service provider must be licensed. The catch-all provision states specifically that “the department may require additional business entities to be licensed” if they provide “goods or services utilized in, or incidental to Internet games or retail sports wagering that are integral to the public confidence, credibility or integrity of the gaming industry of this state.”

We will continue to monitor the progress of expanded gaming in Connecticut and will provide updates on any significant developments.