Connecticut

connecticutAs one of the first north eastern states outside of New Jersey to open a full scale real money casino and legal poker room, Connecticut has played an integral role in the east coast’s real cash gambling market for over 20 years. And although the Constitution State’s population is less than half of New Jersey’s, at 3.6 million CT is still greater than two of the three states that have already passed online Internet poker legislation: Delaware and Nevada.

Yet despite its definitive interest in becoming a player in the US’s newly-minted online betting iGaming casino and poker gambling market, Connecticut’s state officials will likely wait to see how Internet poker and casino gaming fares in New Jersey before drafting their own online gambling bill 2017 or later to bring Texas Hold’em poker to web surfers in CT.

Compounding matters further, Connecticut’s real money poker betting and casino gambling interests are currently focused on the Massachusetts push to open three land-based casinos and lawful poker rooms, not on Internet poker legislation.

Regardless, some industry experts believe that an iGaming Internet betting bill legalizing betting on Internet poker with real cash in Connecticut will be passed in the very near future.

We’re keeping a close eye on The Constitution State’s gambling policies. As of 2015, Connecticut gamblers can still have a good time at a multitude of real money US poker sites.

Connecticut Foray Into Online Gambling Linked To Massachusetts

Last year, Massachusetts officials decided to allow the construction of three land-based casinos with real money poker betting rooms within the state borders. Sensing a changing of the real cash gambling landscape, neighboring Connecticut took a “wait and see” approach before plotting any major move on the Internet poker gambling scene.

Chuck Burnell, a spokesman for Mohegan Sun which already operates a casino in Connecticut, has gone on record as saying that Internet poker betting and legal poker website wagering is inevitable.

Can Players From Connecticut Play Online Poker?

YesCurrently, US-facing online poker websites accept players from Connecticut. Although CT State will likely not regulate all forms of gambling, including Internet poker games like real money Texas Hold’em poker until at least 2015, residents of Connecticut are free to register an account with one of over a dozen online poker websites on the Internet and hit the virtual poker betting felt from the comfort of their home computers. We have created a page where you can see the best 2017 real cash poker websites accepting Connecticut players for real money poker action, so you do not have to go through the whole sign up process for nothing at each poker website.

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Is Online Poker Legal In CT?

Maybe

As of the time of writing, the issue of state regulated online legal Internet poker in Connecticut has not been addressed by government officials. A CT bill relating to lawful real money poker websites will likely be drafted within the coming months.

Connecticut’s gaming statues are clearer than those of most other states. The definition of gambling in CT and the legality of real cash poker are both explicitly defined. However, although certain facets of the legality of online legit real money poker gambling can be inferred, the poker betting law does not directly state that online Internet poker is illegal within Connecticut’s state lines.

Note that we are not a legal authority on the subject of iGaming and Internet poker playing by CT residents in Connecticut. For definitive answers it would be best to seek the consul of a lawyer. But what we can do is provide a detailed overview of Connecticut’s 2017 Internet poker gambling laws in an attempt to provide answers to common questions most poker betting players have.

  • Connecticut, The Constitution State, is one of the few states to provide a definition of gambling. Section 53-278a of its general statues states that gambling means risking any money, credit, deposit or other thing of value for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance or the operation of a gambling device, including the playing of a casino gambling game such as blackjack, poker, craps, roulette or a slot machine. Note that real cash poker is grouped together with traditional casino style games and slot machines, and is unequivocally considered a form of gambling according to Connecticut state law.
  • Section 52-287b states that anyone caught gambling, or even being present while others are gambling in poker games like Texas Hold’em or any other betting game, is subjected to a class B misdemeanor. How vigorously this seemingly strict law is enforced in 2017 is currently unknown.
  • The legality of a CT resident playing at online real money poker gambling websites can be indirectly inferred from Section 52-278d which states that any person who knowingly transmits or receives gambling information by telephone, telegraph, radio, semaphore or other means is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Clearly, this law was drafted before the inception of Internet gambling, and was likely appended to discourage citizens from placing sports wagers over the phone and not from playing at non existent legit poker websites. Those who gamble under fictitious names are hit with a class D felony.
  • Professional gamblers, are those who organize, administrate and otherwise run underground gambling business facilities like real cash poker betting tables – not individuals who gamble for a living. They can be charged with class A misdemeanors in CT.

Connecticut gambling and real money poker law leaves little room for interpretation. As such, gamblers are advised to only play poker betting games and other casino style games in regulated facilities and real cash poker rooms in CT, like Connecticut’s two major casinos: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

For a more detailed look at Connecticut’s Internet poker and general gaming statues[2], see the “References” section.

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The Facts

The History Of Gambling In Connecticut

Like other states on the east coast, the recorded history of casino and real cash poker gambling in Connecticut dates back to America’s pre-Revolutionary War period. During the state’s infancy, lotteries were held to provide funding for projects. These real money gambling CT lotteries were conducted well into the 19th century, but were seemingly not regulated by Connecticut law.

Connecticut’s first official form of legal gambling came in 1939 when it legalized bingo games for charitable purposes. Casino, real cash poker nights and raffles were added to the list in 1955, but again, they were only legal in CT if the proceeds were donated to charity.

It wasn’t until 1972 that Connecticut would legalize a statewide lottery. One of the oldest lottery’s in the United States, Connecticut paved the way for other New England states to form lotteries of their own for real money gambling fans to enjoy.

During the 1970s, Connecticut’s casino and legal poker gambling climate changed dramatically. In addition to the inception of the lottery, off-track horse betting, greyhound racing and jai alai were sanctioned in 1976. Pari-mutuel betting has remained legal in CT to this day.

Connecticut’s first casino, Foxwoods[3], opened its doors in 1986. A tribal casino operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, it was originally founded as a bingo hall, later expanding to include table games like Texas Hold’em poker in 1992. Slot machines were added a year later, followed by a poker room and high-stakes area in 1995. Foxwoods went through significant renovations in 1997 and again in 2007 on both its general casino and its real cash poker betting tables.

The state’s other major casino, Mohegan Sun[4], was opened in 1996.

Regulated Gambling Options In Connecticut

Beyond the thousands of brick and mortar establishments that sell lottery tickets, Connecticut is home to two major tribal casinos. Pari-mutuel betting is legal at licensed establishments, as is bingo, slots, casino table games and lawful real money poker.

The one thing Connecticut is lacking is a commercial casino.

Playing at a real-money online poker room in Connecticut can be tricky in a state that certainly does not condone the practice of online US poker.

The Future Of Regulated Online Gambling In Connecticut

Although a bill that would legalize online Internet poker gambling has yet to be drafted in CT, gaming interests are fairly confident that Connecticut will soon play host to a flourishing iGaming real cash Internet poker market, stuffed full of legal poker websites. As early as 2011, Governor Mallory acknowledged that if one state regulated online casino and poker gambling, others would follow with their own Internet betting bills.

A year later, state officials met to examine the issue of real cash poker websites and Internet gambling, but unfortunately, state legislators expressed little enthusiasm during the hearing. However, unlike the tribal interests in other states, Connecticut’s two tribal factions support the state regulation of online gambling and legit poker websites wholeheartedly. In fact, as of October 2013 both tribes have spent millions in anticipation of iGaming’s imminent launch of Internet poker in CT[5]. For them, it is not a matter of if online legislation for lawful real cash poker will be passed, but when.

As part of its preparation CT’s casino Mohegan Sun launched a free-play online Internet poker site, while Foxwoods is already in cahoots with GameAccount. Coupled with the launch of online horse racing real money gambling in Connecticut [6], and it seems only a matter of time before CT inhabitants will be participating in safe and regulated legit poker cash games, SNGs and MTTs at legal Internet poker websites.

Fun Fact

Foxwoods in CT expanded and relocated its WPT World Poker Room in 2006. Before the expansion it sported 76 real cash poker tables for gambling fans, already making it one of the largest legal real money poker rooms (only just behind Borgata and its 85 poker betting tables) on the east coast. But after the expansion the number of real money poker tables totalled 114, making Foxwoods legit poker room the third largest in the nation – only the Commerce and Bicycle Casino (both in Los Angeles, California) have more real cash poker tables.


The Bottom Line

Thanks to the backing of Connecticut’s tribal factions, state legislators in CT are under pressure to forge an online gambling and Internet poker bill. Once this happens, there won’t be much stopping Connecticut from adapting any proposed real money poker website gambling bill into law.

Take heart, Connecticut real cash poker players – online Internet poker gambling should make its way to your state before long, so get ready for the real money poker website gambling to begin!


References

[1] Massachusetts Moves Forward with Land Based Casinos

[2] Connecticut Gambling Laws

[3] Foxwoods Resort and Casino

[4] Mohegan Sun CT

[5] Tribes moving ahead with online gaming

[6] Horse Racing: Online betting makes its debut in Connecticut

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