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Connecticut Lottery's chairman says online sports gaming is going smoothly, so far

Rob Simmelkjaer from CT-N CROP.jpg
Image from CT-N video
Connecticut Lottery Corporation Board Chairman Rob Simmelkjaer

The Connecticut Lottery says it has just about filled up the maximum number of users allowed during this week's so-called soft launch of sports betting.

The number of gamblers allowed to sign up with the lottery was capped at 750 initially.

Each of the state's two casinos were given a similar, temporary limit by state officials.

At a Connecticut Lottery Corporation Board meeting Thursday, Chairman Rob Simmelkjaer said things are going well with the online venture.

"Everything that we hoped would happen on the platform has been happening, and it has been happening smoothly," Simmelkjaer said. "Accounts have been created, bets have been placed, deposits have been made, all without any real drama. So we are very pleased."

A full scale online roll-out of sports gambling is expected to begin on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the bets are coming in.

Foxwoods says its first wager was on a college football game for Louisiana-Lafayette to beat Appalachian State by at least 5 points.

The Connecticut Lottery's first bet was a 10-dollar wager on the Brewers to beat the Braves in the major league baseball playoffs.

Speaking on Connecticut Public Radio's Where We Live Thursday, Meriden resident Tom Ferrari said he is recovering from a gambling addiction that began when he was placing bets with a local bookie in high school.

"I always had this illusion that eventually I would win, and I would win a lot, and I would be satisfied with winning and walk away, but that was kind of a pipe dream," Ferrari said. "I understood the negative effects, and in a weird way I became comfortable in losing my money. I almost thought that was a part of life... Sadly."

Ferrari says at one point he owed about $15,000 in credit card advances, plus debts to other people.

He says there is nothing wrong with gambling for people who can do it responsibly, but he says it is dangerous for people like him who can not keep their betting under control.

Matt Dwyer is a producer for Where We Live and a reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department.