HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The state Department of Consumer Protection on Thursday issued short-term provisional licenses to operators of fantasy sports contests, an industry that first voiced concern back in May that Connecticut’s new licensing system wouldn’t be ready for the upcoming NFL season.
The provisional licenses will expire on Sept. 30 or whenever the state’s more comprehensive licenses are issued, as part of the state’s rollout of legalized sports betting and online gambling. They were issued to the Connecticut Lottery Corporation and the fantasy sports limited liability companies affiliated with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations. The temporary licenses allow both tribal entities to operate fantasy contests off the tribes’ respective reservations.
The Mashantucket Pequots, owners and operators of Foxwoods Resort Casino, have already contracted with DraftKings, which was required to pay the state $832,383.45. Meanwhile, the Mohegans, owners and operators of Mohegan Sun, have already contracted with FanDuel, which was required to pay the state $325,914.91.
“This short-term step allows for the continuation of fantasy sports in Connecticut as we continue to move forward to modernize our gaming landscape in Connecticut,” Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement.
The Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association warned in May that the bill authorizing sports wagering, which Lamont signed into law, would not allow any fantasy sports companies to continue operating in Connecticut after July 1 and until the state set up a new licensing system and those firms were ultimately approved for a license. Professional football has become the most popular sport for fantasy sports players.
The industry estimates there are roughly 600,000 people in the state who play fantasy sports contests, which typically involve players building teams of professional athletes and earning points based on how those athletes perform in real-life games. The vast majority of fantasy sports players, however, don’t play with a company and pay entry fees.