Connecticut is a small state, but it is home to two high-profile tribal casinos – Foxwood and Mohegan Sun. Under the current tribal gaming compacts, these casinos generate well over $350 million in revenue for the state annually. Given Connecticut’s recent budget problems, this has made local lawmakers more sympathetic towards expanding the local gambling industry and introducing iGaming-related regulations.
In June 2018, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill permitting the construction of a third casino in East Windsor, which is set to be operated by both of the local tribes. While the project is currently facing some setbacks on the federal level, both the tribes and the Governor seem adamant about finalizing it as quickly as possible. The recent casino bill also included provisions laying the groundwork for legal sports betting, which didn’t surprise anyone as local lawmakers legalized DFS contests in late 2017.
The future looks bright for Connecticut-based online gambling enthusiasts, and at least one local tribe is working on a proprietary casino software solution in preparation for a proper iGaming bill. Opponents of gambling expansion in Connecticut constitute a minority in the General Assembly and seem unable to counter any such plans in 2019 or 2020.
Gambling in Connecticut is covered by Connecticut General Statutes 12-557 et seq. and 53-278 et seq. The minimum gambling age is 18 for lottery, charitable gaming, and horse race betting, and 21 for casino games.
Connecticut General Statutes
Sec. 52-553. Wagering contract void.
All wagers, and all contracts and securities of which the whole or any part of the consideration is money or other valuable thing won, laid or bet, at any game, horse race, sport or pastime, and all contracts to repay any money knowingly lent at the time and place of such game, race, sport or pastime, to any person so gaming, betting or wagering, or to repay any money lent to any person who, at such time and place, so pays, bets or wagers, shall be void, provided nothing in this section shall (1) affect the validity of any negotiable instrument held by any person who acquired the same for value and in good faith without notice of illegality in the consideration, or (2) apply to the sale of a raffle ticket pursuant to section 7-172.
Sec. 52-554. Recovery of money lost in gaming.
Any person who, by playing at any game, or betting on the sides or hands of such as play at any game, excluding any game permitted under chapter 226 or any activity not prohibited under the provisions of sections 53-278a to 53-278g, inclusive, loses the sum or value of one dollar in the whole and pays or delivers the same or any part thereof, may, within three months next following, recover from the winner the money or the value of the goods so lost and paid or delivered, with costs of suit in a civil action, without setting forth the special matter in his complaint. If the defendant refuses to testify, if called upon in such action, relative to the discovery of the property so won, he shall be defaulted; but no evidence so given by him shall be offered against him in any criminal prosecution.
Sec. 53-278a. Gambling: Definitions.
As used in sections 53-278a to 53-278g, inclusive:
(1) “Gain ” means the direct realization of winnings; “profit” means any other realized or unrealized benefit, direct or indirect, including without limitation benefits from proprietorship, management or unequal advantage in a series of transactions;
(2) “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, but does not include: Legal contests of skill, speed, strength or endurance in which awards are made only to entrants or the owners of entries; legal business transactions which are valid under the law of contracts; activity legal under the provisions of sections 7-169 to 7-186, inclusive; any lottery or contest conducted by or under the authority of any state of the United States, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or any possession or territory of the United States; and other acts or transactions expressly authorized by law on or after October 1, 1973;
(3) “Professional gambling ” means accepting or offering to accept, for profit, money, credits, deposits or other things of value risked in gambling, or any claim thereon or interest therein. Without limiting the generality of this definition, the following shall be included: Pool-selling and bookmaking; maintaining slot machines, one-ball machines or variants thereof, pinball machines, which award anything other than an immediate and unrecorded right of replay, roulette wheels, dice tables, or money or merchandise pushcards, punchboards, jars or spindles, in any place accessible to the public; and except as provided in sections 7-169 to 7-186, inclusive, conducting lotteries, gift enterprises, disposal or sale of property by lottery or hazard or policy or numbers games, or selling chances therein; and the following shall be presumed to be included: Conducting any banking game played with cards, dice or counters, or accepting any fixed share of the stakes therein;
(4) “Gambling device ” means any device or mechanism by the operation of which a right to money, credits, deposits or other things of value may be created, as the result of the operation of an element of chance; any device or mechanism which, when operated for a consideration, does not return the same value or thing of value for the same consideration upon each operation thereof; any device, mechanism, furniture or fixture designed primarily for use in connection with professional gambling; and any subassembly or essential part designed or intended for use in connection with any such device, mechanism, furniture, fixture, construction or installation, provided an immediate and unrecorded right of replay mechanically conferred on players of pinball machines and similar amusement devices shall be presumed to be without value. “Gambling device” does not include a crane game machine or device or a redemption machine;
(5) “Gambling record” means any record, receipt, ticket, certificate, token, slip or notation given, made, used or intended to be used in connection with professional gambling;
(6) “Gambling information” means a communication with respect to any wager made in the course of, and any information intended to be used for, professional gambling. Information as to wagers, betting odds or changes in betting odds shall be presumed to be intended for use in professional gambling;
(7) “Gambling premise” means any building, room, enclosure, vehicle, vessel or other place, whether open or enclosed, used or intended to be used for professional gambling. Any place where a gambling device is found shall be presumed to be intended to be used for professional gambling, except a place wherein a bazaar or raffle for which a permit has been issued under sections 7-170 to 7-186, inclusive, or bingo for which a permit has been issued under section 7-169 is to be conducted;
(8) “Person ” includes natural persons, partnerships, limited liability companies and associations of persons, and corporations; and any corporate officer, director or stockholder who authorizes, participates in or knowingly accepts benefits from any violation of sections 53-278a to 53-278g, inclusive, committed by his corporation;
(9) “Peace officer ” means a municipal or state police officer or chief inspector or inspector in the Division of Criminal Justice or state marshal while exercising authority granted under any provision of the general statutes or judicial marshal in the performance of the duties of a judicial marshal;
(10) “Court ” means the Superior Court;
(11) “Crane game machine or device ” means a machine or device (A) that is designed and manufactured only for bona fide amusement purposes and involves at least some skill in its operation, (B) that rewards a winning player exclusively with merchandise contained within the machine or device and such merchandise is limited to noncash prizes, toys or novelties each of which has a wholesale value not exceeding ten dollars or ten times the cost of playing the machine or device, whichever is less, (C) the player of which is able to control the timing of the use of the claw or grasping device to attempt to pick up or grasp a prize, toy or novelty, (D) the player of which is made aware of any time restrictions that the machine or device imposes on the player to maneuver the claw or grasping device into a position to attempt to pick up or grasp a prize, toy or novelty, and (E) the claw or grasping device of which is not of a size, design or shape that prohibits the picking up or grasping of a prize, toy or novelty contained within the machine or device;
(12) “Redemption machine” means an amusement device operated by one or more players that involves a game the object of which is throwing, rolling, bowling, shooting, placing or propelling a ball or other object into, upon or against a hole or other target and that rewards the player or players with tickets, tokens or other noncash representations of value redeemable for merchandise prizes, provided (A) the outcome of the game is predominantly determined by the skill of the player, (B) the award of tickets, tokens or other noncash representations of value is based solely on the player’s achieving the object of the game or on the player’s score, (C) only merchandise prizes are awarded, (D) the average wholesale value of the prizes awarded in lieu of tickets or tokens for a single play of the machine does not exceed ten dollars or ten times the cost of a single play of the machine, whichever is less, and (E) the redemption value of each ticket, token or other noncash representation of value that may be accumulated by a player or players to redeem prizes of greater value does not exceed the cost of a single play of the machine.
Sec. 53-278b. Gambling; professional gambling; penalties.
(a) Any person who engages in gambling, or solicits or induces another to engage in gambling, or is present when another person or persons are engaged in gambling, shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor; provided natural persons shall be exempt from prosecution and punishment under this subsection for any game, wager or transaction which is incidental to a bona fide social relationship, is participated in by natural persons only and in which no person is participating, directly or indirectly, in professional gambling.
(b) Any person who engages in professional gambling shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor
Sec. 53-278c. Seizure of gambling devices. Penalties for possession, sale, etc., of gambling devices or records. Exceptions.
(a) All gambling devices are common nuisances and, if found in a place known or suspected to be a gambling premise, are subject to seizure, immediately upon detection, by any peace officer, who shall hold the same subject to confiscation and destruction by order of a court having jurisdiction.
(b) No property right in any such gambling device shall exist or be recognized in any person, except the possessory right of officers enforcing sections 53-278a to 53- 278g, inclusive.
(c) All furnishings, fixtures, equipment and stock, including without limitation furnishings and fixtures adaptable to nongambling uses and equipment and stock for printing, recording, computing, transporting, safekeeping or, except as otherwise provided in subsection (c) of section 53-278d, communication, used in connection with professional gambling or maintaining a gambling premise, and all money or other things of value at stake or displayed in or in connection with professional gambling or any gambling device, shall be subject to seizure, immediately upon detection, by any peace officer, and shall, unless good cause is shown to the contrary by the owner, be ordered by the court to be destroyed or disposed of to a charitable or educational institution or to a governmental agency or institution, provided, if such property is money or valuable prize, it shall become the property of the state; except any such property which at the time of such order is subject to a bona fide mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest shall remain subject to such mortgage, assignment, lien or security interest. The court may also order that such property be sold by sale at public auction, in which case the proceeds shall become the property of the state; provided any person who has a bona fide mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest shall have the same right to the proceeds as he had in the property prior to sale. The provisions of section 54-33g shall not be applicable to proceedings under this section.
(d) Except as provided in subsection (e), any person who knowingly owns, manufactures, possesses, buys, sells, rents, leases, stores, repairs or transports any gambling device, or offers or solicits any interest therein, except in connection with a permit under sections 7-169 to 7-186l, inclusive, whether through an agent or employee or otherwise shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Subsection (b) of this section shall have no application in the enforcement of this subsection.
(e) Any firm or corporation may engage in the business of manufacturing gambling devices for use outside of the state, provided such firm or corporation has obtained approval for the manufacture and transportation of such devices from the Commissioner of Public Safety. The commissioner shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 to implement the provisions of this subsection.
(f) Any person who knowingly prints, makes, possesses, stores or transports any gambling record, or buys, sells, offers or solicits any interest therein, whether through an agent or employee or otherwise, shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor, and in the enforcement of this subsection direct possession of any gambling record shall be presumed to be knowing possession thereof.
Sec. 53-278d. Transmission of gambling information.
(a) Any person who knowingly transmits or receives gambling information by telephone, telegraph, radio, semaphore or other means, or knowingly installs or maintains equipment for the transmission or receipt of gambling information, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
(b) When any public utility is notified in writing by a law enforcement agency acting within its jurisdiction that any service, facility or equipment furnished by it is being used or will be used to violate this section, it shall, within ten days of receipt of such notice, discontinue or refuse the furnishing of such service, facility or equipment, and no damages, penalty or forfeiture, civil or criminal, shall be imposed against any public utility for any act done in compliance with any such notice. Unreasonable failure to comply with such notice shall be prima facie evidence of knowledge against such public utility. Nothing in this subsection shall be deemed to prejudice the right of any person affected thereby to secure an appropriate determination, as otherwise provided by law, that such service, facility or equipment should not be discontinued, or removed, or should be restored.
(c) Facilities and equipment furnished by a public utility in the regular course of business, and which remain the property of such utility while so furnished, shall not be seized pursuant to subsection (c) of section 53-278c except in connection with an alleged violation of sections 53-278a to 53-278g, inclusive, by such public utility, and shall be forfeited only upon conviction of such public utility therefor.
(d) Any person who subscribes to any telephone facility in a fictitious name for the purpose of gambling shall be guilty of a class D felony.
Sec. 53-278e. Gambling premises as nuisance.
(a) All gambling premises are common nuisances and shall be subject to abatement by injunction or as otherwise provided by law. In any action brought under this subsection the plaintiff need not show damage and may, in the discretion of the court, be relieved of all requirements as to giving security.
(b) When any property or premise is determined by a court having jurisdiction to be a gambling premise, the owner shall have the duty to terminate all interest of anyone holding the same under him.
(c) When any property or premise, for which one or more licenses, permits or certificates issued by this state or any political subdivision or other public agency thereof are in effect, is determined by a court having jurisdiction to be a gambling premise, all such licenses, permits or certificates shall be void, and no license, permit or certificate so voided shall be reissued for such property or premise for a period of sixty days thereafter. All peace officers and all taxing and licensing officials of this state and its political subdivisions and other public agencies shall enforce this subsection.
(d) Any person who, as owner, lessee, agent, employee, operator, occupant or otherwise, knowingly maintains or aids or permits the maintaining of a gambling premise shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, and any person who does any act in violation of this subsection within any locked, barricaded or camouflaged place or in connection with any electrical or mechanical alarm or warning system or arrangement where a lookout is used shall be guilty of a class D felony.
Sec. 53-278f. Persistent offenders.
Any person who has been convicted of a violation of subsection (b) of section 53-278b, subsection (d) of section 53-278c, subsection (a) of section 53-278d, or subsection (d) of section 53-278e or any statute predecessor thereto may, upon any subsequent violation of said subsections, be prosecuted as a persistent offender and on conviction may be subjected to the penalty of the next most serious classification of offense, provided it shall be an affirmative defense to the charge of being a persistent offender under this section if the defendant was pardoned on the ground of innocence with respect to the prior conviction on which the state is relying.
Sec. 53-278g. Excepted activities. Training of casino personnel for employment. Testing gambling devices.
(a) Nothing in sections 53-278a to 53-278g, inclusive, shall be construed to prohibit the publication of an advertisement of, or the operation of, or participation in, a state lottery, pari-mutuel betting at race tracks licensed by the state, off-track betting conducted by the state or a promotional drawing for a prize or prizes, conducted for advertising purposes by any person, firm or corporation other than a retail grocer or retail grocery chain, wherein members of the general public may participate without making any purchase or otherwise paying or risking credit, money, or any other tangible thing of value.
(b) The Mashantucket Pequot tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, or their agents, may use and possess at any location within the state, solely for the purpose of training individuals in skills required for employment by the tribe or testing a gambling device, any gambling device which the tribes are authorized to utilize on their reservations pursuant to the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; provided no money or other thing of value shall be paid to any person as a result of the operation of such gambling device in the course of such training or testing at locations outside of the reservation of the tribe. Any person receiving such training or testing such device may use any such device in the course of such training or testing. Whenever either of said tribes intends to use and possess at any location within the state any such gambling device for the purpose of testing such device, the tribe shall give prior notice of such testing to the Division of Special Revenue.
Sec. 53-280. Billiard and pool rooms; permits.
The first selectman of any town, the chief of police of any city or the warden of any borough may grant permits to suitable persons to conduct public billiard and pool rooms in such town, city or borough, as the case may be, and may revoke any permit issued by him, for cause found after hearing. The use of any billiard or pool table for the purpose of gaming within any billiard or pool room, for the conduct of which a permit has been granted, or the carrying on within such billiard or pool room of any game of chance shall be sufficient cause for the revocation of such permit or for the refusal of a renewal of such permit. Each application for such a permit shall be in writing and shall describe the place where such billiard or pool room is to be located and state the number of tables to be used therein and the name of the proprietor thereof. Each such permit shall designate the place where such business is to be carried on and shall continue in force for one year unless revoked. Each person receiving such permit shall annually pay to the authority granting the same the sum of ten dollars for the use of the municipality. Any person who conducts, maintains or keeps open a public billiard or pool room without such permit shall be fined not more than fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than six months or both.
Sec. 53-290a. Disclosures re promotional drawings.
Any person who operates a promotional drawing which is authorized by the provisions of section 53-278g shall cause to be printed on each ticket or token of participation, in type not less than one- third the size of the largest type on such ticket or token, a disclosure of the actual number and dollar amount of prizes to be awarded and the number of winners per each thousand tickets or tokens to be distributed. Any person who operates a promotional drawing in violation of the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars.