HARTFORD, Conn. — The XL Center Sports Bar and Sportsbook is now officially open.
A ribbon-cutting event was held Monday evening to welcome guests in for what officials hope will be the first phase of a revitalization effort for the downtown area.
"I've lived in Hartford for 10 years, this is like really exciting," said Robert Winter of Hartford.
A years-long plan of bringing a sports bar and sportsbook to Hartford’s XL Center is now a reality.
"It took a long time to get this done but we’re very happy with the results. It was as you can see a massive construction job," said Andrew Walter, director of legal and business affairs for sports betting for the CT Lottery.
More than 80 televisions, 14 self-service sports betting terminals, and a full-service bar and restaurant that can fit about 300 people, sitting right above the city’s downtown.
"I can’t imagine something more fun than just being able to watch the game on tv, have something to drink, maybe bet on another game, and then still be able to see into the arena and just kind of feel that energy that’s happening," Walter said.
That’s exactly what officials are hoping for. They have a goal of making the XL Center a destination once again and injecting some life into that part of the city.
"This corridor down Allyn Street to Union Station is a really important corridor where we’re working to try to encourage investment, and revive that part of downtown," said Hartford mayor Luke Bronin.
Officials said this is only the first step.
"Why can’t we make this place the nicest arena in the state of Connecticut where families want to go. And that’s exactly what this is going to do. And this is phase one. This is the first part of the work and there’s more to come," said House Speaker Matt Ritter.
Sports fans said it’s a good place to start. Giving them a chance to cheer on all of their teams while being up close to the action on game day.
"I think this is the beginning of great things I really do this is great. I think Hartford needed this so bad for so long," Winter said.
The XL Center Sports Bar and Sportsbook is open 7 days a week. You have to be 21 and older to participate in sports betting. As a general rule of thumb, the state does not allow betting on Connecticut collegiate teams.
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