CT Lottery is parting ways with sports betting partner PlaySugarHouse

After 18 months of partnership, the CT Lottery Corp. separates. from their sportsbook partner, the parent company of PlaySugarHouse.

In a joint statement on the website of PlaySugarHouse’s parent company, Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive Inc., the two companies said they “will be ending their online and in-person sports betting partnership in Connecticut.”

The Lottery Corp. is a quasi-public body established by the state legislature. In addition to keno and lottery games, it gained the right to operate online sportsbook and up to 15 retail sportsbook sites in 2021 when the state introduced sportsbook and online casino gambling.

“The CLC will begin searching for a new operator through a call for proposals in the coming days. RSI will continue to operate online and in-person sportsbook in Connecticut on behalf of the CLC until a replacement is selected,” the two companies said in a joint statement.

The breakup of an online gambling partnership, especially a heavily marketed one, is considered unusual and raises the question of why this happened.

“We thank RSI for working closely with CLC to provide the foundation for CLC’s sportsbook operations, both online and retail,” Lottery Corp. President Gregory Smith said in the joint statement.

“We thank the CLC for its partnership over the past two years. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished together in Connecticut and have enjoyed the relationships we’ve built with players,” RSI CEO Richard Schwartz said in the statement. “Consistent with our long-term strategic goals, after much deliberation and discussion with the CLC, we believe it is in the best interests of RSI and our shareholders to terminate this partnership.”

Both companies said operations would be smooth for players and bets placed through PlaySugarHouse kiosks at the retail locations and through the platform would be settled as usual during the transition. The Lottery Corp. said in the press release that it expects the transition to be complete after a call for proposals in the second half of 2023.

The CT Lottery Corp. based in Rocky Hill, through a spokesman, declined to respond to further questions, including the reasons for the split.

The Lottery Corp. has nine of the 15 permitted retail locations, eight of which are owned and operated by Sportech Venues through its Winners and Bobby V brands – the operator of Connecticut’s off-track betting locations. A ninth, not associated with Winners, is in Shelton.
The Lottery Corp. has not opened its own retail location in downtown Hartford or downtown Bridgeport, which were under discussion during state legislature deliberations in 2021.

Ted Taylor, President of Sportech Ventures, said his company was not notified of the change in advance and has had no issues with the PlaySugarHouse sportsbook kiosks operating at Winners locations under the Lottery Corp. granted license have been set up.

Personal sports betting in 2022 was for Lottery Corp. totaled $98.7 million, and online sports betting by the quasi-public totaled $143.5 million. Those totals compare to $622 million from Mohegan Sun’s online sports betting platform partnered with FanDuel and $656 million from the Foxwoods platform, a partnership with DraftKings.

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