WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — As people fill out their March Madness brackets this year, they're also legally making bets through other channels.
"Every year we're very busy with March Madness and then with sports betting added this year we expect to be extra busy," said Daniel Hall, general manager at Bobby V's in Windsor Locks.
Retail sports betting venues, like the one inside Bobby V's, offer fans a new way to wager in Connecticut during this year's tournament.
"It definitely has increased business here and has brought more people coming out, a lot of people who hadn't been here before coming out for the first time," Hall said.
March Madness is one of the only times people in our state can bet on Connecticut teams.
"If you're within Connecticut and you're trying to be on a Connecticut sports team generally speaking that is not going to be allowed. But there are exceptions for intercollegiate tournaments involving more than four teams," said Jason Chung, assistant professor of sport management and executive director of e-sports at the University of New Haven.
Also, there are rules surrounding those bets to help ensure integrity in sports betting.
"You can only do it at the beginning of a tournament on a futures bet rather than you know bet on individual games and individual outcomes," Chung said.
The state also wants to remind people to be careful if you're going to gamble. There are only three approved gaming operators for sports betting, DraftKings, FanDuel and PlaySugarHouse.
The Department of Consumer Protection has gotten reports of illegal offshore gambling businesses trying to solicit people.
"They're not licensed to offer wagering in Connecticut. That means that their product has not been reviewed to make sure that your personal information is protected, that the games are run fairly, you know they could be manipulating the odds or things like that," said Kaitlyn Krasselt, communications director for DCP.
March is also Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling is available to connect people with resources. They saw an increase in calls this Super Bowl compared to last year and are preparing for the same during the NCAA tournament.
"It's important to kind of know the odds, understand the game before you're doing it, try not to get caught up in the moment," said Paul Tarbox, manager of public policy and communications, for the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling.
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