Also known as the ‘Nutmeg State’, ‘Constitution State’ and the ‘Land of Steady Habits’, the third smallest state in the US. also has the third highest number of millionaires per capita. Aside from very wealthy citizens, Connecticut is also home to the country’s third oldest university, Yale, and the location for popular past television shows like Gilmore Girls and Who’s the Boss. Though small, this picturesque north-eastern state has a lot to offer its residents and visitors alike. Not only does it boast the oldest public library (since 1771) and oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States (since 1764), it’s also where you’ll find the largest casino in the country. That being said, Connecticut still has strict gambling laws in place, which we explore in this article.
Gambling – Then and Now
The face of gambling the world over has changed significantly over the last century, with land-based venues joined by online destinations, fun play casinos and even Facebook casinos. And, in Connecticut, it’s been no different. Due to it being a rather conservative state, Connecticut’s gambling history doesn’t go that far back in time. Gambling, with proceeds going to charity, was the first to be legalised in Connecticut, with charity bingo getting the go-ahead in 1939, and charity raffles and poker nights added in 1955. In 1972, the Connecticut State Lottery came into being with ticket sales available at 3000 retailer locations – only the fourth of its kind in the nation. In 1975, residents could purchase the state’s first scratch cards with proceeds initially earmarked for educational services. In 1976, betting on greyhound racing, horse racing and Jai-Alai were sanctioned. However, pari-mutuel betting is still legal in Connecticut to this day. The 80s was the decade that finally saw the establishment of the state’s first legal land-based casino, Foxwoods. The tribal casino, operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, opened its doors in 1986 – first featuring a bingo room, then adding table games in 1992 and slots in 1993. Another tribal casino, Mohegan Sun, opened in 1996, also growing into a giant casino resort. In 2012, the spotlight was again on online poker, with the governor suggesting that the regulation of this game was inevitable.
Online Gambling in Connecticut
As is the case in other states, there is no single law explicitly prohibiting online gambling in Connecticut. In fact, the two legal land-based tribal casinos offer online components, though not yet for real money play. Public opinion, however, does favour this type of gambling to be legalised. Until it does, residents can play online at legally licensed online casinos that operate offshore. In fact, a number of these online casinos accept players from Connecticut and the greater US. Players who just want to experience the thrill of gambling, without spending any money, can give free online gambling a go at the two tribal casinos, as well as various other free play online casinos, social casino apps and Facebook casinos that all offer free fun online slots.
Gambling Options in Connecticut
What forms of gambling are, and aren’t, legally available in Connecticut?
Land-Based and Online Casinos
Land-based destinations in Connecticut include two huge tribal casinos: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Foxwoods Resort Casino, known to be the largest resort casino in North America, boasts seven casinos on its premises, along with restaurants, hotels, theatres, exclusive retailers, golf facilities, spas and free online casino games. The other brick-and-mortar establishment, Mohegan Sun, offers three world-class casinos with a state-of-the-art poker room and entertainment venues that host live concerts and sporting events. While both offer ample gambling opportunities, there is plenty to do for the rest of the family, making it worth a visit.
Although both land-based casinos offer free online games, residents of Connecticut who wish to play online with real money have a few options to choose from. Legally registered online casinos that run their operations outside of the US include Lucky Red, Bovada, Aladdin’s Gold and Slots.lv. Alternatively, they can sign up at any of the hundreds of mobile social casinos, fun play casinos and social casino apps, or find out how to play on Facebook Casinos that are instantly accessible from your personal account.
Live and Online Poker
Since legislation for real money online poker gambling hasn’t been passed yet, it isn’t yet deemed legal in Connecticut. However, residents can enjoy live poker at the two tribal casinos, where world-famous poker events are often held. Alternatively, residents can enjoy free online poker games at the Mohegan Sun website – or they can sign up for real money poker play at online gambling sites, legally operating outside of the US.
Pari-mutuel betting on horse and greyhound racing events, at designated simulcast venues via betting terminals, is legal in the state of Connecticut. Other quirky sports you’re allowed to bet on include charity duck and frog races, along with the unique sport, Jai-Alai.
Connecticut’s State Lottery was established in 1972, making it only the fourth state in the US to offer this form of gambling to its residents. Since then, it has evolved along with technology, introducing scratch cards, going mobile, getting a social media presence, and, more recently, a mobile app. Its biggest payout to date? An incredible $254.2 million in 2011 on a PowerBall jackpot ticket. Where does the money go? To the state’s General Fund, which benefits public safety, education, libraries and public health, to name but a few.
If you live in Connecticut, you can play bingo games legally – and not just for charity. While charity bingo and raffle games exist, bingo games with $1 or less entry fees and prizes of $5 values or less are available. These games aim at providing fun entertainment for elderly residents.
Tips for Gamblers in Connecticut
There are various gambling avenues to take if you want to legally gamble in Connecticut, just make sure you ask the following questions:
- Am I old enough to gamble? If you’re 18 or older, you can legally gamble in Connecticut.
- Can I play a social poker game with friends at home? Yes, as long as you know your fellow players and nobody profits financially from the game.
- Can I take part in live poker tournaments? Yes, at one of the two tribal casinos.
- Can I bet on sports? Yes, you can place pari-mutuel bets on greyhound and horse races.
- Can I gamble online for real money? Yes, if you sign up at online casinos that operate legally outside the borders of the United States.
- Can I gamble online for free? Yes, at the two tribal casinos’ online sites, or at an endless number of Facebook casinos, fun play casinos, free play online casinos and mobile social casinos.
Whether into sports or slots, poker or bingo, residents of Connecticut are sure to find a way to enjoy gambling in their state. With land-based options at two destinations and online casinos at their fingertips, there’s nothing stopping them from cashing in on real money bets or simply having fun with free online gambling options.