Total Mortgage Arena, home ice for the Bridgeport Islanders of the American Hockey League (AHL), will feature a retail sportsbook for the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC), the lottery announced this month.
The move by the CLC comes as it looks to wrap up negotiations with a new sports betting operator — one that will run retail sportsbooks at Total Mortgage Arena and ten additional locations across the state.
Under Connecticut gaming law, the CLC is authorized to offer online sports betting at 15 retail locations, provided they are located at least 25 miles from either of the two tribal casinos in the state — Foxwoods Resort in Ledyard and the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.
Bridgeport is the largest city in Connecticut in terms of population, with just under 150,000 residents. Total Mortgage Arena is about a 60-mile drive from Midtown Manhattan, but it won’t be the closest venue to the center of NYC — that distinction will still be held by Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar in Stamford, which is about a 40-mile drive.
The Bridgeport Islanders are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Islanders.
Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive (RSI) and the CLC announced in late March that they would wind down their partnership for online and retail sports betting during the second half of 2023.
It’s believed that either Betfair or BetFanatics will replace RSI’s SugarHouse Sportsbook. That assumption is based on the fact that both operators are already registered as businesses with the Connecticut Secretary of State, and neither has a name that would prevent it from offering sports betting in the state.
A law prohibits casino-based sportsbooks in CT, thereby preventing operators like Bally’s, BetMGM, Borgata, Caesars, or Pala from partnering with the CLC since all are well-known casino brands.
Because of the law, RSI had to deploy its SugarHouse brand in the Constitution State.
DraftKings has a partnership with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns and operates Foxwoods, while FanDuel is partnered with the Mohegan Tribe, which owns and operates the Mohegan Sun.
Construction of Sportsbook Just Months Away
According to the CLC, construction of the new retail sportsbook at Total Mortgage Arena will begin “in the coming months.” The facility will total 2,500 square feet of space on the ground floor of the stadium.
“The sportsbook will include a state-of-the-art sports experience with full food and drink service, more than ten TVs, plus an exterior patio and bar seating,” the CLC said on September 20. “Bettors will be able to place their wagers on one of a dozen kiosks or at teller windows.”
Greg Smith, president and CEO of the CLC, said Total Mortgage Arena “provides us with a unique space that is already known as an entertainment hub for sports, music performances, and events. The addition of the sportsbook will help make [the facility] an entertainment and sports destination every day with ample and easy parking access.”
Total Mortgage Arena will be the 11th retail sportsbook for the CLC. The last one opened this month at the XL Center in Hartford.