Connecticut Lottery selects Rush Street Interactive as state’s final sports betting skin

The Connecticut Lottery (CLC) has announced it will partner with Rush Street Interactive (RIS), the company behind BetRivers, for the third Connecticut sports betting skin.

This comes after FanDuel secured market access into Connecticut last month via a deal with Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment.

Connecticut Lottery and RSI

On Thursday, the Connecticut Lottery announced that it had awarded the third and final online sports betting slot in Connecticut to RSI, the company behind the BetRivers sportsbook brand.

The deal will span 10 years and during a press conference, a Lottery representative said sports betting could go live “during the NFL season.”

Under the agreement, RSI will work alongside the local pari-mutuel operator Sportech, on up to 15 retail locations across the state. However, this is subject to RSI’s receipt of a license from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.

Sportech previously threatened to sue the state after it looked like it had been locked out of the state’s sports betting market in the newly signed tribal compacts and sports betting laws.

The brand has yet to be determined, however, RSI guarantees a minimum of $170m to the lottery over the period of the contract.

“Rush Street Interactive is a respected sports betting and gaming company that has established itself as a leading innovator in the industry,” said Rob Simmelkjaer, Chairman, CLC Board of Directors. “We are impressed not only with RSI’s successes in other jurisdictions, particularly in neighboring New York and New Jersey, but also its commitment to responsible gambling practices.”

“We look forward to working with the team at Rush Street Interactive,” said Greg Smith, CLC President & CEO. “We had 15 quality proposals from well-established gaming companies, and RSI rose to the top through the combination of its experience and commitment to quality products, customer service, and responsible gaming safeguards. We’re excited about this partnership and know our players will be getting an excellent product and customer service.”

Richard Schwartz, President of RSI said: “We are honored to be selected by the CLC to bring sports betting to the state and people of Connecticut.

“This partnership represents a significant milestone for RSI, as the trust and confidence of a state-backed organization such as the CLC further validates the strength of our award-winning online gaming platform and customer service. 

“Building on our proven track record of success in the tri-state area, where RSI was an early entrant in New Jersey and is the market leader in retail sports betting amongst New York’s commercial casinos, we are thrilled to collaborate with the CLC team to offer Connecticuters safe, convenient, and unique gaming experiences.”

RSI joins DraftKings and FanDuel

RSI will now join DraftKings and FanDuel to round out the legal operators for sports betting in Connecticut.

DraftKings partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot Indians in late 2020, while FanDuel teamed up with the Mohegan Indians last month. 

FanDuel’s deal ultimately forced the tribal group to amend its existing deal with the supplier Kambi. FanDuel will now provide Mohegan with sports betting services in Connecticut.

When will Connecticut launch sports betting?

During a press conference, a lottery spokesperson confirmed that the activity is set to launch during the upcoming football season.

All three operators should be able to launch land-based and online sports betting in the coming months.

However, a solid launch date has yet to be confirmed. This is because regulations still need to be passed and the Department of the Interior still needs to approve the new tribal compacts that were submitted back in July.

Sports betting in Connecticut

In February, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont included provisions for sports betting and online gambling in the state budget. 

The Governor then went on to agree on new tribal gambling compact agreements with both the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.

Under the agreements, the tribes would be required to pay 20% tax on online gambling revenue while sports betting would be taxed at 13.75%.

In May, the state Senate approved the legislation to enact the agreement by a vote of 28-6 after passing the House of Representatives by a vote of 122-21. The measure was then sent to Lamont for approval, which at the time, he said he would sign into law.