The Connecticut Lottery Corporation issued a comprehensive Request For Proposals on Monday, triggering a bidding process for the lottery’s sports betting partner that may become intensely competitive in the coming months.
The issuance of the 38-page Request For Proposals comes roughly two weeks after Rush Street Interactive announced plans to wind down its online and in-person sports betting partnership with the Connecticut Lottery. At a minimum, the successful bidder will provide a wagering platform for the lottery’s online and retail sports wagering channels, the lottery wrote in the document. In addition, the winning bidder will also be required to provide a new Daily Fantasy Sports solution in conjunction with its submission.
In Connecticut, RSI plans to exit partnership with the state lottery by second half of 2023.
With only three skins available in Connecticut, Rush Street’s departure could trigger an intense bidding process.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) March 28, 2023
The state lottery also expects the winning bidder to provide a nimble player account management system, thorough risk management solutions, a sophisticated player bonus/promotion engine, and a wagering platform that meets the requisite Know Your Customer/anti-money laundering standards. According to the RFP, a seamless conversion from the current system powered by Rush Street appears to be a key determinant in the bidding process.
“In order to effectuate a smooth transition of the online channel, the Successful Proposer must work collaboratively with the current Operator to import all player Data into its System and to create a messaging and marketing plan to address the transition period from current System to the Successful Proposer’s System,” the RFP states.
Timeline for bidding process
The process will begin almost immediately, with optional meetings between lottery officials and potential applicants set to run from April 17-21. The lottery has set a deadline of April 24 for the submission of written questions. From there, the lottery corporation plans to provide written responses to all potential proposers by May 1 on a rolling basis.
From there, all submissions are due by May 19, according to the lottery, which has allotted nearly two months for proposal review. It plans to issue a preliminary notice of award by June 14 and see the new systems launched by some point this fall.
While the lottery corporation is authorized to offer up to 15 retail sports betting locations throughout Connecticut, the state only has nine open. Those include an in-person sportsbook at the XL Center in Hartford as well as a retail sports betting facility at Bobby V’s in Stamford, a restaurant owned by former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine.
The agency is considering four additional locations, with two possible in Norwalk and Bridgeport on Long Island Sound. Along the New York border, the lottery is considering another location in Danbury, and a fourth possible new location would be northwest of Hartford, near Avon.
Improved market share
Rush Street withdrew from the lottery partnership in the second year of a 10-year agreement. The withdrawal was not cheap, according to Eilers & Krejcik, a leading gaming research firm that reported Rush Street invested well over $100 million over the span of the deal. The lottery, through Rush Street, generated about $20 million in net gaming revenue (from retail and online sports betting) during fiscal year 2022. The figure pales in comparison to the $86 million in combined NGR generated by DraftKings and FanDuel, Eilers & Krejcik notes.
Rush Street is the parent company of BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook.
With only three Connecticut online sports betting skins across the state, the lottery’s next partner will look to put a dent into the market share enjoyed by the industry heavyweights. When it comes to fantasy sports, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe through DraftKings is currently the only entity that offers the gaming option statewide.
After a brief implementation period, the anticipated initial duration of the new contract will be for eight years, according to the RFP. The lottery will have the option to extend the contract for five additional years.
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