New Hampshire Will Be 14th State to Have Legal Sports Betting

  • New Hampshire is looking to legalize sports betting to increase revenue and to give better protection to consumers
  • House Bill 480 has been passed by the legislature following three amendments in the Senate
  • The bill allows retail and online sports betting and will be regulated by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission
  • Governor Chris Sununu is expected to sign the bill into law once it reaches his desk in a few weeks
New Hampshire flag
New Hampshire Legislature has approved the legalization of sports betting.

Gambling in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a small state that has a population of only 1.3 million people. There are no casinos in the state but there are some small-scale gambling facilities. Most of them offer blackjack, craps, roulette, and poker under the charity gaming laws.

The racetracks in the state no longer host any races. Instead, many of them are used as gambling facilities. These operations give 35% of their revenues to a charity and there is a maximum bet of $4.

The state lottery has been around since 1964 and about 30% of its revenues go to educational programs. Over 60% goes into the prize pool. Both scratch and draw games are offered. Online instant games were legalized in 2010 in an attempt to bring in more tax revenues.

Online lottery ticket sales have been legal since July 2017. Since the federal ban on sports betting was ended in May 2018, there has been a push in New Hampshire to legalize sports betting.

Initial push for legal sportsbooks

Tax revenues from sports betting will be welcomed by the state government and legalization is a great way to stop black market sports betting, which is rife in the region. This will deprive criminal enterprises of these funds as well as creating adequate protection for consumers.

Naturally, some oppose the introduction of legal sports betting in the state. They say that levels of problem gambling will increase dramatically and that mental health workers will be put under severe pressure.

Passing of legalization bill

A sports betting bill has won approval from the New Hampshire Legislature after much debate. House Bill 480 was amended three times in the state senate, which drew out the process.

The bill allows as many as five operators for online sports betting and a maximum of ten retail operators.

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission will be in charge of the sector. The commission can operate sports betting and allow authorized agents to do so. A Division of Sports Betting will be created as part of the Lottery Commission to be the sector’s regulator.

Anyone who is at least 18 years old can place a sports bet and people can register remotely for an online sports betting platform. Bets will not be allowed on events involving New Hampshire college teams or any college events taking place in the state. There is no integrity fee for sports leagues and there is no mandate for using of the official league’s data.

Final step

Now that the legislature has passed the bill to this bill, it goes to the Enrolled Bills Committee. This step is a formality, as the committee just looks for any potential errors in the bill before it goes to Governor Chris Sununu’s desk. This process can take up to four weeks.

The governor will have ten days to sign the bill. He has expressed support for legal sports betting in the past, so he is expected to sign the bill. He has included $10m of sports betting revenue in his proposed budget.

When the governor signs the bill into law, New Hampshire will become the 14th state in the US to have legal sports betting and the sixth state to legalize it in 2019. Over 20% of the population of the United States will then be able to place online sports bets.

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