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CT Lottery sports betting revenue comes in lower than projected

The CT Lottery Corporation’s first year offering retail and online sports betting brought in less revenue than previously projected, according to the Office of Fiscal Analysis.

The OFA’s Fiscal Accountability Report, noted a negative adjustment of $10 million for the state’s Transfer-Special Revenue, which reflects “the underperformance of Connecticut Lottery Corporation sports betting revenues relative to projections.”  

Connecticut’s move into legal online sports and casino gaming in 2021, allowed the CLC to offer in person retail sports wagering at 15 CLC facility locations, and online sports betting alongside Mohegan and Foxwoods, which partnered with major sports betting platforms like Draft Kings and Fan Duel.

Retail sports wagering – which requires in-person betting at a location — and online sports wagering by CLC has brought in $2.1 million since November of 2021, according to state data. Comparatively, the casinos delivered $11.3 million in online sports gambling payments to the state. 

The OFA estimated sports wagering by the casinos and CLC to bring in a total of $19.3 million in fiscal year 2022 and $21.1 million in 2023. The fiscal analysis also estimated that the expansion of CLC into online lottery games, keno, sports betting and retail sports betting would add between $14 million and $19 million in additional costs. 

Consensus Revenue estimates from January of 2022 show the state expected more than $402 million in special revenue transfers for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. That has since been adjusted downward to $392 million.

Tara Chozet, spokeswoman for CT Lottery, said they were not responsible for the revenue projections, a job that falls to OFA, and that CLC’s sports wagering is moving forward according to their plan.

“We didn’t come up with those projections, so I’m not sure what basis for those projections were. We’re operating according to our own plans,” Chozet said. “I think it’s going how we anticipated, obviously with the tribes we’re not the only one here.”

During a public hearing on the legalized gambling bill in 2021, CLC Chairman Robert T. Simmelkjaer II and CLC President Gregory Smith testified in support of the bill and emphasized the need for CLC to be a “primary operator.”

“With the CT Lottery as a primary operator, we project that $30 million will be returned to the state in year one,” Simmelkjaer and Smith said. “If we are not included, you can expect about $10 million or less to the State’s coffers.”

Chozet, however, says those statements were made before the bill was authorized and those projections were made “in a universe where we were the only operator.”

Although the bill allows up to 15 locations for retail sports wagering, CLC lists eight current locations with more locations coming soon.

The CT Lottery remains a source of significant revenue for the state that has been growing over time. In 2018, CLC transferred $345 million into the General Fund; in 2021, that number topped out at $418 million and last year was $401 million.

The majority of state revenue from the lottery is funneled to health and human services and education funding. As part of the legalized gambling statute, CLC also contributes an additional $1 million toward treatment and rehabilitation for problem gambling.

Marc E. Fitch, Senior Investigative Reporter

Marc E. Fitch

Marc worked as an investigative reporter for Yankee Institute and was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. He previously worked in the field of mental health is the author of several books and novels, along with numerous freelance reporting jobs and publications. Marc has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University.

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