XL Center Sportsbook Powered by Connecticut Lottery Announces Opening Date

Posted on: August 31, 2023, 12:09h. 

Last updated on: September 1, 2023, 02:08h.

The XL Center in Hartford will open its sportsbook powered by the Connecticut Lottery Corp. next month as the 2022-23 NFL regular season kicks off.

Connecticut Lottery XL Center sportsbook sports betting
Construction continues on the XL Center sportsbook in Hartford, Conn. The Connecticut Lottery is partnering with the arena that hosts UConn basketball for sports betting. (Image: Hartford Business Journal)

Connecticut lawmakers and Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed new Class III gaming compacts with the state’s two federally recognized tribes, the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, in in early 2021. The updated compacts provided the tribes exclusive rights to operate online casinos, retail, and sports betting.

The expanded gaming privileges afforded to the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods operators included the state’s first major expansion of commercial gambling since the state lottery was authorized in 1971. In exchange for the tribes gaining iGaming exclusivity, the Connecticut Lottery was provided retail and online sports betting rights.

The state lottery is allowed one online sportsbook platform and up to 15 retail sports betting locations. The state has so far partnered with nine businesses for retail sports betting operations, including Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar in Shelton, Bobby V’s in Stamford and Windsor Locks, Shea’s Manchester, Sports Haven in New Haven, and Winners locations in Hartford, New Britain, Milford, and Waterbury.

Hartford Adds Book

Officials with the Connecticut Lottery announced this week that the lottery’s second retail sports betting location in Hartford will open on September 18. The XL Center sportsbook will open its doors at 5:30 p.m.

The multi-use indoor arena in downtown Hartford is a part-time host court for the University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams and men’s hockey program. The facility, which opened in 1975, is additionally the home ice of the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League.

Next month, the lottery’s on-site XL Center sportsbook will give patrons another reason to visit the venue. The sportsbook will be accessible via an entrance along Church and Ann Uccello streets. During ticketed events, non-ticketholders will still be able to access the sports betting area.

September 18 coincides with two NFL Monday Night Football games.

“Fans will be able to come in and check out both games that night and check out the new facility,” said Christopher Davis, a Connecticut Lottery spokesperson.

The Connecticut Lottery’s sports betting operations remain managed by Rush Street Interactive, a Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming subsidiary. RSI in March announced its plans to depart the state and terminate its sports betting contract with the Connecticut Lottery less than two years after the pact was established in August 2021.

Sportsbook Partner Needed

RSI in 2021 guaranteed the Connecticut Lottery that it would direct a minimum of $170 million to the agency over the life of the 10-year sports betting partnership. It’s unclear whether Rush will need to pay a separation fee for terminating the contract early. Still, the sportsbook operator is staying on until the lottery finds a new sports betting operator.

The XL Center sportsbook will feature 14 self-service wagering kiosks and a two-window staffed counter. A restaurant and sports bar will keep bettors’ thirsts quenched and bellies full.

The XL Center has seen better days. XL Center brass hope the sportsbook might result in state and city lawmakers getting behind a proposed $107 million upgrading of the facility. The City of Hartford owns the XL Center.