In a joint statement with the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC), Chicago-based RSI said it would continue to offer sports betting via its SugarHouse-branded sportsbook until the CLC can find another operator as a replacement.
CLC will issue a request for proposals (RFP) “in the coming days,” the two entities said Monday.
“Players on the PlaySugarHouse.com online platform or at any of the nine Connecticut retail locations can be confident that any wagers placed will continue to be valid and all wins will continue to be paid out appropriately.
“RSI is continuing to work closely with the CLC to minimize any potential disruptions to players or business partners as the operation is wound down.”
RSI, CLC Agree to End Partnership
In August 2021, the CLC picked RSI over other operators interested in partnering with the state lottery for online and retail sports betting. Immediately after being selected, RSI said it would deploy its SugarHouse brand — not its more well-known flagship brand, BetRivers — in Connecticut.
With SugarHouse leaving Connecticut, the brand will only be live in Pennsylvania for online casino gaming and sports betting. RSI runs SugarHouse alongside BetRivers in the Keystone State and doesn’t promote the former.
Consistent with our long-term strategic goals, after much deliberation & discussions with the CLC, we believe it is in the best interest of RSI & our stockholders to wind down this partnership. SugarHouse competes against DraftKings and FanDuel in Connecticut — the former has a partnership with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation while the latter is partnered with the Mohegan Tribe.
DraftKings has a sportsbook at Foxwoods Resort Casino, and FanDuel has a similar establishment at the Mohegan Sun Casino.
Despite their partnership coming to an end, both sides were complimentary of each other.
“We thank RSI for working closely with CLC to establish the foundation for CLC’s sports betting operation, both online and in retail,” said CLC President Gregory Smith.
Richard Schwartz, CEO of RSI, said the Chicago-based company is “proud of what we have accomplished together in Connecticut and have enjoyed the relationships that we have built with the players.
“As is consistent with nearly everything we do at RSI, both RSI and the CLC remain committed to putting our players first. Through the transition, we plan to continue to support all player wagers and ensure a positive player experience and expect the changeover will have an immaterial impact on our guidance for 2023.”
SugarHouse Had Consistently Trailed Rivals
Although no reason was given for ending the partnership, Schwartz hinted that it may have been due to the disappointing handle and revenue generated by SugarHouse Sportsbook CT since it launched in October 2021.
Data from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (CDCP) show that SugarHouse generated a cumulative $196.3 million handle in the 17 months it has been live. By comparison, FanDuel had a cumulative $895.9 million handle during the same timeframe, while the handle at DraftKings totaled $938.4 million.
Broken down by month, that equates to an $11.5 million handle on SugarHouse, $52.7 million on FanDuel, and $55.2 million on DraftKings.
CDCP data also show SugarHouse had $10.2 million in adjusted revenue during the 17-month period that began in October 2021. By comparison, DraftKings grossed $59.1 million in adjusted revenue, while FanDuel hauled in $60.1 million.
“Consistent with our long-term strategic goals, after much deliberation and discussions with the CLC, we believe it is in the best interest of RSI and our stockholders to wind down this partnership,” Schwartz said.