XL Center Sportsbook Opening Announced by Connecticut Lottery

Posted on: August 31, 2023, 12:09h. 

Last updated on: August 31, 2023, 12:09h.

The XL Center in Hartford will debut its sportsbook, powered by the Connecticut Lottery Corp., just in time for the start of the new NFL season. Sports betting enthusiasts can look forward to this exciting addition next month.

Connecticut Lottery XL Center sportsbook sports betting
Construction continues on the XL Center sportsbook in Hartford, Ct. 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 Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, granting them exclusive rights to operate online and retail casinos, as well as online sports betting. As part of the agreement, the Connecticut Lottery was granted the rights to operate retail and online sports betting.

The Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods operators secured expanded gaming privileges, marking a significant expansion of commercial gambling in Connecticut since the authorization of the state lottery in 1971. In return, the Connecticut Lottery gained the rights to offer retail and online sports betting services.

The Connecticut Lottery is permitted to have one online sportsbook platform and up to 15 retail sports betting locations. Currently, the state has partnered with nine businesses to operate retail sports betting, including Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar, Bobby V’s, Shea’s Manchester, Sports Haven, and Winners locations in various cities.

Hartford Welcomes New Sportsbook

The Connecticut Lottery announced this week that a new retail sports betting location will open in Hartford on September 18. The XL Center sportsbook will be ready to serve bettors starting at 5:30 pm.

The XL Center is a multi-use indoor arena located in downtown Hartford, which hosts the University of Connecticut’s basketball and hockey teams. The facility, in operation since 1975, also serves as the home ice for the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League.

Visitors to the XL Center next month will have the opportunity to enjoy the new sportsbook, which will be conveniently accessible from Church and Ann Uccello streets. Even non-ticketholders will be able to access the sports betting area during ticketed events.

The opening of the sportsbook on September 18 aligns with two Monday Night Football games, providing fans with even more excitement and entertainment.

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

The Connecticut Lottery’s sports betting operations are currently managed by Rush Street Interactive (RSI), a subsidiary of Rush Street Gaming based in Chicago. However, RSI has recently announced its plans to leave the state and terminate its sports betting contract with the Connecticut Lottery, despite the partnership being established less than two years ago in August 2021.

Search for a New Partner

Under the previous agreement, RSI had guaranteed a minimum payment of $170 million to the Connecticut Lottery over the course of their 10-year partnership. Whether a separation fee will be required for terminating the contract early remains uncertain, but the Connecticut Lottery is actively seeking a new sports betting operator.

The XL Center sportsbook will feature 14 self-service wagering kiosks and a staffed counter with two windows. Additionally, it will house a restaurant and sports bar to ensure patrons are well-fed and hydrated.

The XL Center has been in need of renovations, and the introduction of the sportsbook is hoped to garner support from state and city lawmakers for a proposed $107 million upgrade of the facility. The XL Center is owned by the City of Hartford.

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