FanDuel found its gaming entry point into Connecticut Wednesday, announcing it has reached a deal with powerhouse Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment to offer retail and online sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and iGaming.
The deal is pending license and regulatory approvals in the state and comes shortly after FanDuel and eternal rival DraftKings were able to secure access to continue offering DFS. Connecticut’s recently passed sports betting law requires DFS operators to be tethered to an entity with a master sports wagering license, and both sportsbooks were given provisional licenses effective July 1.
Sports betting cannot go live in Connecticut until after the U.S. Department of the Interior approves the tribal-state compacts. It could take up to 135 days from when a pact is received by the Department of the Interior until it is operational, but sometimes it takes less time. For example, the compact that legalized sports wagering in Arizona was approved and published in approximately one month.
The agreement announced Wednesday describes a temporary retail FanDuel sportsbook inside Mohegan Sun Casino with four betting windows and 16 self-serve kiosks. The two sides will work toward a winter opening for a permanent sportsbook on the Uncasville casino grounds, subject to regulatory approvals.
“Mohegan Sun is an iconic casino and entertainment destination in the Northeast, and we are excited to announce our first tribal gaming partnership with one of the leading tribal operators in the United States,” said Amy Howe, president of FanDuel Group, in a joint statement. “We have some incredible plans for the retail space at Mohegan Sun, with the potential to be the largest FanDuel Sportsbook in the United States. When we combine the retail sports betting experience with the opportunity for online sports betting and iGaming, Connecticut is going to be a key state for us as we look towards the start of football season.”
Connecticut joined Michigan as the only states to legalize sports betting and iGaming at the same time.
A digital sports betting showdown looms
#FanDuel Announces Market Access Partnership with Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment to Operate Sports Betting, iGaming and DFS in Connecticut –
— Cody Chapman (@Cody_ChapmanMS) July 7, 2021
DraftKings announced its own partnership with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which runs Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, last December.
Wednesday’s announcement means the two largest sportsbooks in the United States, for all intents and purposes, will go head-to-head in a digital setting across the Nutmeg State. The agreement between the state and the tribes to allow online sports wagering creates a near-duopoly, with the Connecticut State Lottery the lone other entity able to offer a digital sports betting platform via one online skin.
Additionally, with New York slow to finish the process of expanding sports betting to include mobile access and Massachusetts yet to legalize it at all, Connecticut is a vital sparring ground for sports betting dollars considering its population of nearly 3.6 million residents and gateway status to the New York City and Boston markets.
“We’re excited to work with FanDuel, one of the leading sports-tech entertainment companies in the U.S., to bring the brand’s innovative sports betting and iGaming solutions to Mohegan Sun Connecticut,” said Ray Pineault, president & CEO of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. “Our partnership is a priority for Mohegan Digital, as we look to grow and enhance our casino, sportsbook and online operations in Connecticut — and beyond. We’re confident that FanDuel will deliver a best-in-class digital and in-person experience for our loyal guests.”