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The Connecticut Lottery Corp. is confident its close to announcing a new sportsbook partner to replace Rush Street Interactive, who announced earlier this year that it’s leaving the Connecticut market. 

Christopher Davis, head of responsible gaming for the Lottery, said the Lottery has been negotiating with a new vendor and hopes to announce that change “in the coming weeks.” 

The Lottery is one of three licensed sportsbook operators in Connecticut, along with the two tribal casinos, and entered into a 10-year contract with Rush Street ahead of the October 2021 launch for sports betting. 

Rush Street announced in March, though, that it wanted out roughly 18 months into the partnership. 

Davis said Wednesday that the Lottery’s board of directors identified a new vendor in June, and negotiations have continued since. 

Part of the negotiation includes the transition from Rush Street to a new vendor. Rush Street has continued to operate its SugarHouse platform in Connecticut, but all sides will need to work out who is responsible for bets that are placed before a changeover but that won’t be complete until after. 

“There’ll definitely be a transition that will have to happen from RSI to this new vendor, simply because people will have to download a new app,” Davis said. “We’ll have to transition at the retail level.” 

The transition will also affect the Lottery’s 10 retail locations, including the soon-to-open location at the XL Center in Hartford.   

The legislature allowed the Lottery to open up to 10 locations, with two being in Hartford and Bridgeport. Davis said the Lottery is looking for five more, including a Bridgeport location that could be announced “in the coming months.”

The Lottery-Rush Street partnership has come in a distant third to the other two, raking in a total of $13.8 million in online revenues and $17 million from the retail locations from October 2021 through this past July, according to data from the Department of Consumer Protection. 

That’s generated $3.25 million in revenue for the state. 

By comparison, Foxwoods Resort Casino and its partner, DraftKings, have made $78.9 million from online sports betting in revenue and paid the state $10.8 million. The state gets cut from the casinos’ online sports betting. 

Mohegan Sun and FanDuel have seen $93 million in gross revenue from online sports gambling, paying $12 million for the state. 

Still, the Lottery has seen a huge growth in its sports betting business. This year the Lottery has made a combined $10.98 million in gross revenue from retail and online sports betting through July, a jump of 47.4% from the same point last year. 

“We continue to see growth with sports betting, both online channel and retail,” Davis said. 

Foxwoods has seen a similar increase of 46% in its online sports betting revenues, while Mohegan has had a 92% jump. 

“We think we have a ways to go still, and we’re encouraged by the receptivity that we’ve seen in our guests,” Mohegan Sun President and CEO Ray Pineualt said. 

He declined to share any forecasts but said he’s confident because of the continued growth in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, which have what he called “more mature markets.” 

Foxwoods Resort Casino President and CEO Jason Guyot is similar bullish, saying he expects online and retail betting to become a “$525 million business” in the state of Connecticut. 

Pequot Woodlands Casino (Contributed photo)

Connecticut is also currently one of six states that currently allows online casino games, and Guyot said that, too, has been a boon after years of declines to retail gambling. He said it’s too early to say how much of an impact online gaming will have on in-person gambling. 

The two casinos are about to get competition, though, as Rhode Island will become the seventh state sometime next year. 

“Obviously that will be quarantined off from border to border, but I’m sure there are some people that live on one side and work on the other, and vice versa,” Guyot said 

Foxwoods is hoping to bring people back to its resort casino with a series of investments. Just this week, officials unveiled Pequot Woodlands Casino, a new 50,000-square foot casino in the Grand Pequot Concourse. 

The area includes 430 additional slots, 24 table games and a 40-seat bar. 

“It’s a special time for us as we evolve and renovate it,” Guyot said. The opening comes a little more than six weeks after the ribbon cutting for Hell’s Kitchen, part of celebrity chef Gordon’ Ramsey’s chain. 

Pequot Woodlands Casino (Contributed photo)

Foxwoods is also building Great Wolf Lodge in partnership with Great Wolf Resorts. 

While the sportsbook and online casino have brought in additional revenue, Guyot said the money is not funding the investments into the resort casino. 

“It helps the tribe tremendously, but that business is completely separate from the Foxwoods retail business,” he said.