The state of Connecticut is poised to become the seventh state to legalize online poker in the USA and the sixth to authorize online casino games after the state House of Representatives passed a bill allowing gambling last week by a 122-21 margin.
House Bill 6451 was then sent to the State Senate and on Friday it was officially added as a Senate agenda item.
In addition to online poker and online casino games, the bill would also allow:
- Sports betting in person and online
- Fantasy contest
- Keno in person and online
- Online lottery games
If the bill is adopted by the Senate, Governor Ned Lamont has indicated he will sign the bill. However, since the bill proposes changes to the pact between the state and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, approval by the US Department of the Interior (DO I) secretary in accordance with the Federal Indian Gaming Regulation Act (IGRA) is also required.
However, the tribes would not be the only ones to benefit from the proposed expansion of gambling. HB 6451 would also license the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CVX) to offer selected online games.
If passed, the bill would enter into force on July 1, 2021.
Connecticut Online Poker May Be Restricted
In its current form, HB 6451 would only allow online casino games (which include online poker) to be offered by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes and not by the CVX.
The bill would also prevent tribes from offering online casino games and online poker outside of their tribal lands for one skin per tribe, which means that there would only be the potential for two online poker sites in the state.
Currently, there are three major online poker operators in the United States: PokerStars United States, operating in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan; BetMGM United States, which offers online poker in the same states as PokerStars under a mix of brands that include BetMGM Poker, Borgata Poker; and partypoker US; and 888poker /WSOP United States, which currently offers the only interstate online poker in the United States with brands such as WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey, 888poker in New Jersey, and three brands of racino offered in Delaware.
The inability to offer online poker to the 3.6 million inhabitants of the Constitutional State would not pose a significant threat to the success of any of the Big Three, but it is also possible that one or even none of the existing US online poker operators could get started in Connecticut.
The Mashantucket Pequot tribe has already reached an agreement in Connecticut with DraftKings, who would be interested in presenting a new online poker network in the United States. Its current market access and the impending conclusion of the Wire Act affair next month, which is expected to boost interstate online poker interest, might be enough to bring sports betting online and Daily fantastic sports giant on the fringes of online poker.
The Mohegan Tribe already have a deal in place with global online gaming provider Kindred in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and although there has been no rumble, Kindred operates online poker under the Unibet brand in d other parts of the world. Although this is a long shot, the Unibet Poker The software is one of the most modern and user-friendly platforms in the world, and its high-quality mobile offering could be competitive in US markets once the Wire Act appeal period expires in June.
Currently, there is also no provision in the Connecticut bill that explicitly allows interstate online poker networks (also known as shared liquidity), but there is no language that would prohibit online poker operators from allowing Connecticut players to participate at the same tables as players in other states where online poker is legal and regulated.
Presumably state lawmakers would pass another law explicitly allowing Connecticut to enter into agreements with other states such as Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), or provisions could be included to allow for cash-sharing in revisions to tribal pacts with the state.