Connecticut is widely recognized for its rolling hills and miles of lush, green grass. It’s hard to believe that there are any casinos nestled among the serenity. The history of casinos in Connecticut goes back to more than 100 years ago. In those times, casinos were more of a charitable and fund raising venture rather than anything else. It wasn’t until later on, towards the middle of the 20th century, that gambling in its true sense started in Connecticut.
History of Casinos in Connecticut
Gambling in this state initially began with state lotteries in 1972, followed by pari-mutuel wagering in 1976. After this, many Indian tribes based in Connecticut were granted federal recognition, while utterly bolstered the gambling scene as it was once known. It was in the 1990’s that the state opened the gateway to tribal casinos which led to the birth of two of the world’s largest casinos; Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket and Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville. Both casinos were in the New London County of Connecticut. The Mashantuket Piquot tribe started the Foxwood casino in 1992 and the Mohegan tribe started the Mohegun Sun four years later. They don’t face any competition from anyone besides themselves and they are arch rivals to each other to this day. Located in the southeastern part of the state, they are just about an hour’s drive from Waterbury.
There aren’t very many casinos in the state if you search on its map, as most of the casino games have not been legalized here. However, there aren’t too many legal restrictions imposed on the two giant casinos located in its capital. The simple reason for this is the phenomenal revenue that the state earns as a direct result of keeping them open. They have memorandums signed which commit that 25% of their revenue earned from video facsimile/slot machines goes directly to the state treasury.
You can play at one of the largest Bingo halls of the world accommodating about 3600 people at one time or you can do with a game of poker in a room with 104 tables round the clock in Foxwood Casino. You wouldn’t be disappointed with the arrangements at Mohegan Sun as well that boasts of 116 blackjack tables, craps, roulette, baccarat, 3-card poker as well as video games. However, if you are from Connecticut and wish to take a break via train, car or even hop of a plane, there are many casino resort options in the New York area that are worth visiting as well.
Connecticut Gambling Laws
Connecticut remains the state with a lot of restrictions on different games that offer prizes to its participants. Here are the forms of gambling that are considered legal in the State of Connecticut, according to Connecticut General Statutes.
Connecticut allows off-track pari-mutuel betting. It means that players pool their bets, and the total amount is split among the winners. However, only a single entity is allowed to run the entire business – Sportech Venues – the company that considered as one of the world’s largest pool betting establishments. It now operates 15 sports bars and off-track betting venues all over Connecticut. In exchange, the state gets 3.5% in taxes from the operator.
Pari-mutuel Betting run by Sportech Venues is the only legal online gambling in Connecticut. Online casinos, off-track betting, online poker and applies even for online gaming sites that are being operated from other locations outside the state are illegal here. The state government closely keeps track of Sportech competitors who may be targeting Connecticut residents to entice them to place bets on their websites. Several warnings have been issued during the big sporting events where the stakes are higher and it is easier to tempt more people to place their bets.
Despite the strict restrictions when it comes to gambling, two legal tribal casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, are more than enough to keep gambling visitors happy. They could both easily rival even the large casinos in other states. Foxwoods has over 5,500 slot machines and over 300 table games, so you could just imagine how much they are trying to make up for the lack of other alternatives within the state. The Mohegan Sun is smaller but just as impressive. As with others states, tribal land is considered as autonomous, bound by their own laws and rules. This means that tribal casinos are allowed, but only within their territory. Of course, state laws about the legal gambling age still apply, and only those aged 21 and above can play in these venues. Each tribe contributes 25% of the video facsimile/slot machines “win” to the state of Connecticut. Although there are risks that both locations may lose part of their customers once casinos in Massachusetts have been set up, they are still pretty confident that they are still the better options compared to their soon to rise competition.
Like most other states, Connecticut also has its own lottery. Interstate games such as Powerball are also included in the gaming options, aside from the classic lotto game. Tickets can be purchased through any of the retailers around the state, such as Crossroads Cards and Gifts, which remains to have the highest number of high stakes tickets cashed in. Other retailers are M&M Pawn Shops and Stop and Go Food Marts. There are a number of websites (privately owned) that offer lottery tickets for sale online but Connecticut Lottery Corporation doesn’t endorse or encourage the use of these sites. Minimum age allowed to play the lottery is 18.
Social gaming means that all participants are somehow related to each other aside from their common intent to play. This also means that all the money gathered will go towards the prizes, without anybody standing to profit whether directly from the game or from selling other forms of merchandise like alcohol as the game is being played. The state also limits the giving of gifts to other players; you could even get in trouble for bringing a bottle to the party where the game is being held.
Bazaar, sealed tickets, raffles and bingo charity games are allowed. Bingo is the most common form of charitable gambling. Prizes that are offered for the winners of bingo games may consist of cash, promotions or tickets for the lotteries. Generally no permittee may offer a prize that exceeds one hundred dollars in value. When there is more than one winner, the designated prize shall be divided proportionately.
Other forms of gambling are also considered legal in Connecticut, but there are no facilities for them. For example, Jai Alai that involves a ball being bounced off a wall using curved wicker baskets, became quite popular when first opened up in 1976; but the last operational fronton closed down in 2001. Horse and greyhound racing are also allowed in the state, although there are no operational racetracks at the moment. Off-track betting for greyhound racing is available for Connecticut residents.