Is Poker legal in Connecticut (ct)? Online Poker Laws in Connecticut Explained
Table Of Contents
- Can You Play Online Poker in Connecticut?
- History of Poker and Online Poker in Connecticut
- Who Oversees Online Gaming in Connecticut?
- Summary of Connecticut Gambling & Poker Laws
- Where Can I Play Online Poker In Connecticut?
- How Many Online Poker Sites Could There Be in Connecticut?
- Connecticut as a Part of an Interstate Compact
- Connecticut Online Poker Mobile Apps
- Online Poker Deposit Options in Connecticut
- Connecticut Online Poker Bonuses
- Popular Connecticut Brick and Mortar Poker Rooms
- Famous Connecticut Poker Players
- Are WSOP or WPT Online Events Offered in Connecticut?
- Is WSOP.com Offered in Connecticut?
- Is BetMGM / partypoker US Offered in Connecticut?
- Is PokerStars Available in Connecticut?
- Online Poker Tournaments in Connecticut
- Connecticut Online Poker FAQ
- Online Poker is allowed
- Online Poker is legal since May, 2021
- House Bill 6451
- Live Poker is allowed
- Live Poker is legal since 1992
- Online Casino is allowed
- Online Casino is legal since May, 2021
- House Bill 6451
- Sports Betting is allowed
- Sports Betting is legal since May, 2021
- House Bill 6451
On May 27, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (Democrat) signed legislation (House Bill 6451) legalizing sports wagering and online gaming, including online poker. By doing so, Connecticut became the seventh state to legalize online gaming.
While previous iGaming initiatives failed in Connecticut, Tribal gaming interests successfully lobbied for legislation after the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic shuttered their brick-and-mortar casino operations (while nearby states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania online operations boomed).
“By signing this bill into law, Connecticut is now on the cusp of providing a modern, technologically advanced gaming experience that will be competitive with our neighboring states and positions us for success into the future,” Governor Ned Lamont said after signing online poker in Connecticut into law.
On October 19, 2021, regulated online casino games and sports betting officially launched in “The Constitution State,” but no online poker rooms were offered at the time.
While online poker is permitted under the same law allowing online casinos in Connecticut, thus far no rooms have launched, though that is expected to change at some point.
Just two online gaming licenses have been issued in Connecticut to the state’s two tribal entities – Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and Mohegan Tribe, both of who are currently offering real-money online gaming. However, with a small population and a focus on other games, getting online poker up and running may not be much of a priority.
Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which operates Foxwoods Casino Resort, it partnered with DraftKings for iGaming operations, and unfortunately, they do not currently offer online poker, though it is a vertical they’ve expressed interest in.
Meanwhile, the Mohegan Tribe, which operates the Mohegan Sun, is partnered with FanDuel. While FanDuel does not offer poker at the moment, they are a part of the Flutter Corporation, which also owns PokerStars.
Additionally, the Connecticut Lottery Corp. has contracted with Rush Street Interactive to offer sports wagering throughout the state. They are not allowed to offer online gaming nor online poker.
Users don’t need to actually be at either of the tribal properties to play, but can instead experience the excitement of online gaming from anywhere in Connecticut.
Can You Play Online Poker in Connecticut?
Not at the moment. While online poker is allowed under Connecticut law, no operators have offered the game thus far. It’s likely due to the state’s small population, making the time and investment into an online poker platform less than lucrative. That would change if operators seek strive for shared liquidity via an interstate compact, though right now there’s not much momentum behind that idea. Players just need to wait and see if online poker becomes live in Connecticut.
History of Poker and Online Poker in Connecticut
Gambling in Connecticut dates back to the 1970s. While charitable gambling had been around since 1939, it did not allow any kind of Vegas-style gambling. The Connecticut Lottery was created in 1971, selling its first ticket a year later. Around that same time, the state also legalized horse racing, jai alai and dog racing betting. Poker in Connecticut, however, was only legalized in the 1990s. Foxwoods Casino was founded in 1986 as the Mashantucket Pequot Bingo Hall. In 1992, it was rebranded into Foxwoods and added its first table games. That’s when live poker in Connecticut finally became available for residents.
Connecticut then added another poker room when Mohegan Sun Casino opened to business in 1996. Currently, Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino offer the only live poker rooms in Connecticut. The two tribal-owned businesses have also partnered to build a third casino in Connecticut, although the plans are currently halted. Connecticut has a combined total of over 200 poker tables. With over 150 tables, Foxwoods Casino has the largest poker room in the East Coast.
Previously, all forms of online gambling were illegal in the state under the General Statutes of Connecticut Section 53-278a(2), which states all gambling activities are illegal unless specifically authorized. Well, it was specifically authorized when Governor Ned Lamont signed House Bill 6451 into law on May 27, 2021.
However, before that there were a couple of attempts for online gaming. In 2018, both tribes launched free-play sites, which spurred real-money online gaming talk. The issue didn’t go far that year, but in 2019 a bi-partisan bill, SB 17, was introduced and made it to the Senate floor where it eventually died. In 2020, in a world shut down by the global pandemic, the idea of online gaming finally gained widespread support by both operators and politicians.
House Bill 6451 received strong bipartisan support in both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly (it passed the House by a vote of 122-21 and the Senate by a 28-6 margin), and ultimately came as a result of an agreement the Lamont administration reached earlier this year with the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe allowing both tribes and the Connecticut Lottery Corp. to offer online gaming and sports wagering.
Who Oversees Online Gaming in Connecticut?
The Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection is responsible for overseeing online gaming, Fantasy Sports, and sports wagering for operators in the state. Both the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe have a long list of rules and regulations they must follow to ensure they’re offering a safe gaming experience.
Summary of Connecticut Gambling & Poker Laws
- Online Gambling – Legislation was passed in 2021 and operations launched the same year.
- Live Poker - Live poker is legal to play at the state’s two Indian casinos
- Casinos - Connecticut currently has two Indian casinos
- Sports Betting - Sports betting hasn’t been legalized yet in Connecticut
- Fantasy Sports - Daily fantasy sports is legal in Connecticut under the Public Act No. 17-2, Paragraphs 649-652
- Esports - Esports betting isn’t available in Connecticut
- Other Gambling Options - State lottery, charitable gambling, pari mutuel wagering.
Where Can I Play Online Poker In Connecticut?
There is currently no way to play online poker in Connecticut for real money, though hopes are high that both the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes will eventually offer online poker as part of their online casino offerings.
In the meantime, Connecticut offers some of the best poker rooms in the East Coast. Foxwoods Casino offers the biggest poker room in the East Coast, with over 150 tables. Mohegan Sun Casino also has over 50 poker tables. Combined the two venues offer great tournaments and expansive cash game options. The two tribal-owned casinos remain the only legal alternative to play legal real money poker in Connecticut
How Many Online Poker Sites Could There Be in Connecticut?
The law allows for the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes to each offer one online gaming platform. If they opt to offer online poker, it must be hosted on the same platform as online gaming. As a result, right not the maximum number of online poker sites Connecticut could potentially have is two.
Connecticut as a Part of an Interstate Compact
With no online poker currently being offered in Connecticut there is no need for an interstate compact. However, if online poker does launch, joining an interstate compact with the likes of Nevada/New Jersey/Michigan/etc. could be beneficial given Connecticut’s smaller population, which would make it hard to sustain a fenced-in online poker ecosystem.
Also giving the idea of Connecticut joining an interstate poker compact is the fact that FanDuel and DraftKings, the partners of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods respectively, both already operate online gaming in other states. Joining an interstate compact makes sense on paper, but actual execution may be easier said than done. That said, it’s a challenge for another day as right now online poker isn’t being offered in Connecticut.
Connecticut Online Poker Mobile Apps
Right now, there are no real money online poker apps available in Connecticut. However, both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have online gaming apps available for free on desktop, in the App Store, and Google Play.
If and when operators launch online poker it’s expected they will add poker to the apps currently in both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
Online Poker Deposit Options in Connecticut
While legal online poker isn’t currently available in Connecticut, it is expected in the near future. When the time comes, getting money into your Connecticut online poker account should be easy and similar to other states.
Common options available to players elsewhere include:
- Major credit and debit cards such as MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, and more.
- Wire Transfers
- PayPal, NETELLER, and other E-wallet options.
- ACH / e-checks
- Prepaid cards
Depositing with a credit card such as American Express, Visa, or MasterCard is the quickest and easiest way to deposit into your online poker account. However, there may be fees associated with using a credit card that vary from one poker site to another which you should check before making a deposit.
Connecticut Online Poker Bonuses
There are no bonuses to be had for new poker players nor first-time depositors, and that’s due to the fact that Connecticut currently doesn’t offer online poker options. If that changes, expect operators to entice new players to the virtual felt via welcome bonuses, deposit matches, and other online poker promotions.
Other states regularly offer promotions such as no deposit sign-up bonuses, first deposit bonuses, reload bonuses, and loyalty programs, and it’d be no surprise to see Connecticut do the same.
Popular Connecticut Brick and Mortar Poker Rooms
Connecticut has two big tribal casinos in Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. The two combines for a respectable total of 200-plus poker tables available for players in the state. The poker room at Foxwoods Casino is, in fact, the largest poker room in the East Coast with over 150 tables. Despite Connecticut having a small population, they actually have a robust poker scene.
Both rooms have a long and storied history in poker and could foreseeably be used to market an online poker platform. Whether the casinos go that route remains to be seen though as neither are currently offering online poker.
Famous Connecticut Poker Players
While the Constitution State is one of the smaller states in the Union, it has actually produced quite a few accomplished poker players. One of the first Connecticut players to make a name for themselves was World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Paul Darden, who rose to fame during the “Poker Boom” when he won a World Poker Tour (WPT) title on national television.
Stephen Song didn’t notch a tournament cash until 2016, but he immediately established himself as one of Connecticut’s best-ever (he currently tops the state’s all-time money list with more than $2.7 million in career earnings) by winning several WSOP Circuit rings and even a coveted gold bracelet after taking down the 2019 WSOP Event #28: $1,000 No-Limit Texas Hold’em for $341,854.
Similarly, Ryan Eriquezzo, originally from Danbury, has more than $2 million in lifetime earnings including four Circuit rings and two gold bracelets. Interestingly, both bracelets came from winning the same event, the WSOP Global Casino Championship, in 2012 and 2019.
Other well-known poker players from Connecticut include Andrew Badecker, David Stefanski, Michael Demichele, Stanley Lee, Justin Pechie, Soheb Porbandarwala, Luke Vrabel, and Jerrod Ankenman, who actually helped fuel a mathematics-based change in how poker was played.
Are WSOP or WPT Online Events Offered in Connecticut?
Both the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and World Poker Tour (WPT) have hosted live poker events in Connecticut.
The WSOP Circuit first visited Foxwoods in 2013 and has been a familiar stop ever since. While no WSOP gold bracelet has ever been awarded in Connecticut, hundreds of coveted gold rings have. Among those to capture gold rings at Foxwoods over the years are Alex “Chapo” Jim, Kevin “BeL0WaB0Ve” Saul, and even Allen Kessler, who won the 2014 WSOP Circuit Foxwoods $1,700 Main Event for $170,031.
As for the WPT, Foxwoods was actually one of their first stops. In Season 1 (2002-03), the WPT hosted the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods. That tournament was won by Howard Lederer, while Hoyt Corkins would win the same tournament one year later. Foxwoods hosted WPT events each year until 2011, and while it’s been more than a decade since the tour visited the property, they have a long history to draw upon if and when they’re ever brought back to the East Coast casino.
Is WSOP.com Offered in Connecticut?
No online poker operators currently exist in Connecticut, and if/when the day comes, it’s unlikely WSOP.com will be among them. That’s because only two gaming licenses are available in the state, and they’re claimed by the Mohegan and Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes, both of who have online gaming partners. Neither of those partners have ties to the WSOP brand, so it’s highly unlikely WSOP.com finds its way into the Nutmeg State anytime soon.
Is BetMGM / partypoker US Offered in Connecticut?
BetMGM / partypoker US is not among online poker in Connecticut. Like WSOP.com, they’re unlikely to be among Connecticut’s online poker sites as their parent company has no ties to the state and the current license holders have other real money partners.
Is PokerStars Available in Connecticut?
PokerStars, which is available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, is currently not available, but if online poker is offered in the state it’s most likely PokerStars Connecticut would be leading the charge.
That’s because PokerStars is a part of Flutter, which also owns FanDuel. The Mohegan Tribe, which runs Mohegan Sun, is already partnered with FanDuel, so presumably if they wanted to pursue online poker they could turn to PokerStars.
Online Poker Tournaments in Connecticut
With no online poker operations up and running, it stands to reason that there are no online poker tournaments available to players. However, if an online operator does launch poker, there could be some exciting offerings. For example, if PokerStars CT were to launch it’s likely they would offer their popular Championship of Online Poker (COOP) series such as the Connecticut Championship of Online Poker (CTCOOP) and Connecticut Spring Championship of Online Poker (CTSCOOP). They’ve offered such series in other states and would likely do the same in Connecticut.
Likewise, Foxwoods could potentially take their popular in-house Foxwoods Poker Classic to the virtual felt. With a long history of successful live poker in Connecticut, operators have a lot of options on what they could do when it comes ot online poker tournaments.
Connecticut Online Poker FAQ
Is online poker legal in Connecticut?
Yes, online poker is legal in Connecticut, but right now it is not being offered as part of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes iGaming offerings.
What online poker sites are available in Connecticut?
While sports wagering and online gaming (which includes online poker) have been legalized in Connecticut, no online poker sites are currently being offered. Hopes are high that this could change in the near future.
Do I have to be located in Connecticut to play online gaming?
Yes, if you wish to play on either of Connecticut’s online gaming platforms you need to be physically present within state borders. This applies to online casino games, sports betting, and will apply to online poker if/when it ever comes to Connecticut.
How old do I have to be to gamble live and online in Connecticut?
All players must be aged 21+.
Can you play online poker for real money in the US?
Yes, you can play online poker for real money in the US if you are physically located in Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, or Michigan, which are the only five states currently offering legalized and regulated online poker. Both Connecticut and West Virginia have passed online gaming legislation but have yet to offer online poker to their citizens.
Is it legal to play live poker with friends?
Yes, you can play poker with friends. Section 53-278b of the General Statutes of Connecticut exempts you from prosecution in this case. The state allows gambling “incidental to a bona fide social relationship”, which means that playing poker games, including tournaments, with friends is absolutely fine. That also applies to actually wagering real money, as long as the participants are the only ones profiting from the game.
Does Mohegan Sun have a poker room?
Yes, Mohegan Sun Casino has one of the two legal poker rooms in Connecticut. The other legal poker room in Connecticut is located at Foxwood Casino. Both tribal casinos in Connecticut combine for over 200 poker tables. Foxwood has the largest poker room in the East Coast, with over 150 tables. Mohegan Sun Casino has a poker room with over 50 tables available for its players. With a wide variety of cash games and tournaments, both rooms are considered among the best poker rooms on the East Coast.
Who is the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe’s online gaming partner?
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which runs Foxwoods Casino Resort, is partnered with DraftKings, who currently don’t offer online poker but have expressed interest.
Who is the Mohegan Tribe’s online gaming partner?
The Mohegan Tribe, which runs Mohegan Sun, is partnered with FanDuel, who currently do not offer online poker. However, FanDuel is a part of the Flutter Corporation, which also owns PokerStars, so if the tribe does introduce online poker there’s a good chance it’ll involve the world’s largest online poker site.
Can I download any mobile poker apps in Connecticut?
No, right now there are no real money online poker apps available in Connecticut. However, both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have online gaming apps available for free on desktop, in the App Store, and Google Play.
If and when operators launch online poker it’s expected they will either offer similar apps in both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, or simply add poker as an offering on their current apps. Right now it’s just wait and see.
What sort of games can I play online in Connecticut right now?
Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun offer online gambling. Among the games offered are hundreds of digital slot games plus digitized version of popular table games like Blackjack, Baccarat, and Roulette.
Who Oversees Online Gaming in Connecticut?
The Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection is responsible for overseeing Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports, and Sports Wagering for operators in the state.
What are the tax rates for online poker in Connecticut? Online poker and casino games are taxed at 18% through 2026 and then after that the rate climbs to 20%. Meanwhile, sports betting income is taxed at 13.75%.
How does the Connecticut Lottery Corp. fit into the real money online gambling landscape?
The Connecticut Lottery Corp. has contracted with Rush Street Interactive to offer sports wagering throughout the state. They do not offer online gambling.
Where can I find information on problem gambling in Connecticut?
The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling offers trained Helpline Specialists who connect callers to free, immediate support & treatment options in Connecticut. Call 888.789.7777 or visit www.ccpg.org.
Where else can I play regulated and legal online poker in the United States?
Connecticut is the seventh state to legalize online gaming. Here’s a look at the other states in the United States that currently offer online gaming in some capacity:
Be sure to check PokerNews for the latest updates on if and when Connecticut may launch online poker operations.
Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.