Connecticut Lottery Corp. Issues RFP for Sports Betting & DFS

The CLC wants its next partner operator to launch DFS within a year of offering sports betting. But it will have to pick from a short list of sports-only operators.
Waterbury Clock Tower in Waterbury, CT. Connecticut Lottery Corp. Issues RFP for Sports Betting & DFS
By
April 18, 2023

The Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) has started the process of finding a new partner operator for online and retail sports betting in the state. It has also made clear that it wants its new partner to also launch daily fantasy sports (DFS) and provide “a complete system and accompanying services” to support sports betting.

In a 38-page request for proposals (RFP) issued earlier this month, the CLC said it planned to hold Q&A meetings with potential operators this week. Operators were asked to submit written questions to the CLC by April 24, with answers due by May 1.

The CLC said operators have until May 19 to submit a proposal. The Lottery said it hopes to issue a preliminary notice of award by June 14 and that its new partner operator would launch operations in the fall.

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SugarHouse Leaving Connecticut This Year

The RFP came two weeks to the day after Rush Street Interactive (RSI) and the CLC announced that the former would wind down its online and retail sports betting operations in the state by the second half of 2023.

The CLC selected Chicago-based RSI as its sports betting partner back in August 2021. Shortly afterward, RSI set up its SugarHouse brand in Connecticut rather than its more well-known flagship brand, BetRivers.

SugarHouse tried its best to compete against two even more well-known brands, DraftKings and FanDuel but fared as well as one could imagine — SugarHouse generated a cumulative $196.3 million handle through February, compared to $895.9 million handle at FanDuel and a $938.4 million handle at DraftKings.

Nine Retail Books are Already in Operation

The CLC will turn to a new partner operator to help it compete against DraftKings and FanDuel, but its options are limited. Connecticut gaming law prevents the Lottery from partnering with an active operator in online or retail casino gaming — meaning brands like BetMGM, Caesars, and WynnBET aren’t eligible, but Barstool and Fanatics are.

The state’s gaming law also limits where the CLC and its next partner operator can compete against its rivals. The CLC has nine operational retail sportsbooks across the state, plus a tenth under construction at the XL Center, a multi-purpose arena in Hartford. The Lottery is authorized to have up to 15 retail sports betting locations — its next partner operator could play a significant role in such an expansion.

None of the retail facilities are allowed within 25 miles of tribal land in the state. That’s not an idle law — DraftKings is partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, while the FanDuel is partnered with the Mohegan Tribe. The former owns and operates Foxwoods Resort Casino, while the latter does likewise for Mohegan Sun Casino.

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CLC Eyes Fantasy Sports Launch

But the CLC also made it plain: it wants to compete against DraftKings for DFS.

CLC has not yet launched DFS,” the Lottery said in its RFP. “The successful proposer’s DFS solution may be provided either through the successful proposer’s in-house solution or by a subcontractor, ideally utilizing the same PAM [player account management system] as the sports betting solution.”

That’s not all. Besides PAM, the CLC also wants its next partner operator to provide a host of services associated with sports betting, including:

  • Odds compilation and management
  • Risk management, including controls on specific bettors, bet types, and bet limits
  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance
  • Marketing, advertising, content creation, and player bonusing
  • A loyalty or VIP program for both online and retail players

The CLC said its contract would have an eight-year term but could be extended at its discretion for an additional five years through one or more extensions as it sees fit.

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