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'It's About Time': Conn. Lottery Joins Retail Sports Betting Scene

WNPR Lottery
Viola Lukin
Connecticut Lottery Corporation
Rob Simmelkjaer, chairman of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (fourth from right), leads a group of officials from Sportech, Rush Street Interactive and the state of Connecticut in a ribbon-cutting marking the debut of in-person sports betting at Sports Haven in New Haven through the Connecticut Lottery on Monday, Oct. 25.

The Connecticut Lottery has finally gotten into retail sports betting a month after two other operators began taking wagers.

On Monday, the lottery began taking in-person bets on sporting events at Sports Haven in New Haven. It’s the first of what will eventually be 15 retail locations state law says the lottery can offer sports betting.

“One of our goals is to allow Connecticut residents who want to bet in-person on sports to do so [within] a 30-minute drive of their home, and once we have opened up all of those locations, we will be very close to making that a reality,” Rob Simmelkjaer, chairman of the Connecticut Lottery, said at a ribbon cutting Monday.

The Connecticut Lottery can offer retail sports betting thanks to a partnership with betting company Sportech, along with a platform provider called Rush Street Interactive. In-person wagering will take place at Winners and Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar locations across Connecticut.

Gov. Ned Lamont joined members of the lottery, Sportech and Rush Street Interactive at Sports Haven Monday, placing the first in-person sports wager. Lamont put $20 on the New York football Giants to beat the Kansas City Chiefs next Monday night. He encouraged others to go there to bet, particularly after a year and a half spent predominantly at home during the pandemic.

“You can sit here, you could watch your team, you can cheer, you can be with some friends, maybe have a cool frosty and bet on your team,” Lamont said. “I think it’s about time this state had a little bit of fun.”

Connecticut Lottery President Gregory Smith said his corporation hopes to have 10 of the 15 in-person betting locations open by the end of November. It begins with Sports Haven. Next, on Wednesday, Bobby V’s locations in Windsor Locks and Stamford will take action. A lottery spokesperson confirms more will open in phases — including Winners locations in Hartford, Manchester, Milford, New Britain, Norwalk, Torrington and Waterbury. Beyond the 10, the lottery also confirms there eventually will be a retail sports betting operation in Bridgeport and at Hartford’s XL Center arena.

The Connecticut Lottery is the third of three licensed operators to get into retail sports betting. The other two, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations, started taking in-person bets on Sept. 30.

The lottery has been taking bets online. Connecticut residents placing wagers through the lottery can download the SugarHouse CT app to bet on the go.

Simmelkjaer and Lamont both encouraged state residents to bet responsibly.

“Bet because it’s fun,” Simmelkjaer said. “Bet because you like it, not because you have to.”

People interested in responsible gaming help can call 1-888-789-7777.

If you read any of Frankie Graziano’s previous biographies, they’d be all about his passion for sports. But times change – and he’s a family man now.
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