As We Enter 2024, Connecticut Players Still Await an Online Lottery

The New Year is here, but Connecticut residents are still waiting for an online lottery option despite it having been legalized almost three years ago. Connecticut lawmakers authorized online draw ticket and Keno sales in the same 2021 bill that established Connecticut online casinos and sportsbooks. In May 2023, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) announced IGT as its technology partner for the new app and promised a launch in late fall of 2023.

Unfortunately, it has not been a smooth roll-out. CLC has been experiencing issues with its new retail sales system—also from IGT—beginning shortly after the May online lottery announcement. The Lottery announced a delay in the online sales launch in October due to quality control issues that may or may not be related.

The delays have frustrated some players, but a revised launch date may be coming soon.

Jared Kotler, Digital Marketing Manager for the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, told Bonus:

We are working diligently with our vendor and regulators to get the system ready, but it is not ready yet. CLC will announce the start date when it is known, which we are hoping to do in the near future.

Busy Times for the Connecticut Lottery Corporation

Shortly after the latest technical hiccup with its retail terminals in August, CLC announced it had started the search for a new President and CEO. A spokesperson said that Greg Smith, who currently holds the position, plans to retire in 2024, a decision the CLC board has known for some time.

Smith took over the Lottery in 2018 after a turbulent period of running without a CEO, issues with staff retention, and an investigation by Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). The CLC has not indicated when Smith’s successor will be selected. At the time of writing, the job posting remains open on Indeed and other recruitment sites.

Another notable event for the Lottery was the relocation of its headquarters. The CLC moved its headquarters from Rocky Hill to Wallingford in early September. The new headquarters are equipped with IGT technology and an operation center.

Furthermore, the CLC recently resolved another significant issue—the hunt for a new sportsbook partner. Connecticut’s sports betting law allows the CLC to operate a sports-only betting site in competition with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes. However, at the beginning of 2023, the previous partner, Rush Street Interactive, decided to discontinue operations in the state. It had managed to capture only about 10% of the state’s sports betting market. The tribes hold a competitive advantage in that they can offer integrated casino-sportsbooks apps, while the CLC cannot participate in casino gaming.

After several months of searching, the CLC selected Fanatics as its new sports betting partner. The Fanatics app went live on Dec. 12.

All these additional distractions may be further slowing things down on the Lottery’s end, though the technological aspects are IGT’s responsibility.

Retail Glitches Subject to Investigation

While Connecticut is waiting for an online lottery, the retail system has been plagued by technical problems and player frustration. Troubles started a little after the new IGT terminals replaced older ones supplied by Scientific Games.

In a few accidents between May and July, lottery players faced issues like the inability to check tickets, network outages, and tickets scanning incorrectly. According to the news outlet CT Insider, the troubled roll-out has led to the DCP opening an investigation into the matter. Kaitlyn Krasselt, the department spokesperson, told the news outlet that the lottery system works largely as intended.

However, some technical problems are still under investigation, including self-service kiosks. The DCP said that as of Dec. 20, only 38 out of 168 self-service kiosk retailers were operational. The delay is due to ongoing tests to ensure the machines meet standards. The spokesperson did not mention whether mobile and online technology was part of the ongoing investigation.

The retail issues have caused the Lottery significant financial troubles. For the five months ending Nov. 30, total sales were just $572.5 million, $9.3 million below budget, and $44.6 million less than the same period in 2022. Despite retail issues, delayed online launch, and declining sales, the CLC board approved a 10% performance bonus for outgoing CEO Greg Smith.

About the Author

Chav Vasilev

Chav Vasilev

After years of managing fast-casual restaurants, Chav turned his passion for sports and occasional slot wins into a career as an iGaming writer. Sharing his time between Europe and the US, he has been exposed to betting and gambling for years and has closely followed the growth in the US. Chav is a proponent of playing responsibly and playing only at legal online sites. When not writing, you will find him watching and betting on sports, especially soccer, or trying to land the next big bonus on a slot.
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