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Connecticut tribes say online betting has exceeded expectations

The terminals at Sports Haven in New Haven where players can now place online sports bets.
Ebong Udoma
WSHU Public Radio
The terminals at Sports Haven in New Haven where players can now place online sports bets.

Online gambling profits have exceeded their initial estimates and expectations since Connecticut legalized online betting last year, according to the owners of tribal-run casinos in the state.

Since then, the tribal-run casinos have made tens of millions of dollars, and the state has made nearly $10 million from both sports betting and online casino games, which launched in October.

“Launching during the football season, and with both online sports betting and online casino, contributed to strong performance out of the gate,” said Anika Howard with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, the owners of Foxwoods Casino. “Online activity is equally spread throughout the state, with interesting patterns along the border cities, indicating residents in neighboring states are crossing the border to place wages.”

Data shows gambling in New York, which in January also launched online sports betting, is having little impact on the Connecticut market, the Mashantucket Pequot tribe said.

Tribal leaders also told lawmakers during a state regulatory forum Monday that they’re being vigilant on problem gaming.

“None of us benefit from servicing people who have a problem with it, and we all benefit from making sure that we’re addressing the problem and only servicing those who enjoy our platforms for fun and entertainment,” said Ray Pineault with Mohegan Gaming, which operates Mohegan Sun.

The casino has contributed over $8 million to organizations combating problem gaming across the state and by maintaining a 24-hour counseling phone line and live chat program.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.