XL Center and Connecticut Lottery open sportsbook

September 20, 2023
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Connecticut Lottery, authorized to open up to 15 sportsbooks, is still in search of a sports betting partner.

The XL Center held a ribbon cutting for its new XL Sports Bar and Sportsbook this week, in partnership with Connecticut (CT) Lottery. The city of Hartford hopes to partner with CT Lottery in future in the surrounding area and feels the sportsbook will boost visitors.

The grand opening of the venue took place during Monday Night Football, and occurred after a ‘soft launch.’ The 90-seat sportsbook has a 300-person capacity and includes a restaurant, bar and betting terminals.

The sportsbook will be open daily, regardless of whether an event is taking place at the XL Center. Those attending events in future can access the XL Center via the restaurant, but will need tickets to enter the arena.

The XL Center’s appearance and attendance have been in discussion by Connecticut lawmakers and politicians. Mayor Luke Bronin said of the area before the sportsbook, “This whole side of the building was a bunker of concrete and steel that blocked off access to the street.” To Bronin, this addition to the XL Center is an improvement that he hopes will encourage other local businesses to spring up.

Democratic Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives, Matt Ritter said “probably two more exciting announcements” are in store regarding the XL Center’s development. In a press conference he said, “Why can’t we make this place the nicest arena in Connecticut, where families will want to go?”

CT Lottery is currently authorized to open up to 15 sportsbooks in the state, in addition to the two Tribal casinos in Connecticut, which each operate their own sportsbooks. Mohegan Sun partners with FanDuel for its sports wagering, while Foxwoods Resort Casino partners with DraftKings.

The lottery is, however, in need of a new sports betting partner after Rush Street Interactive (RSI) ended a previously agreed 10-year contract agreement that began in 2021 after only 18 months in March this year. CT Lottery is in negations with both RSI and a potential new (and unnamed) partner.

CT Lottery President and CEO Greg Smith said the lottery is “actively working” on finding locations for the remaining permitted sportsbooks, and is “quite hopeful” that a new sports betting partnership agreement “happens during the football season.”

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