Sports betting now legal
New Hampshire is officially the 14th US state to see sports betting become a legal and regulated market, after Governor Chris Sununu put pen to paper on House Bill 480 on July 12.
The law was initially approved by the legislature before the last session in June was adjourned. The bill was amended three times through this process, and it took a number of weeks to reach the governor’s desk.
There are now six states that have received approval for a sports betting bill in 2019. Nine states have operating sportsbooks while seven others, as well as the district of Washington DC, have sports betting launches that are pending.
What will legal sports betting look like?
The New Hampshire sports betting scene will be overseen by the new Division of Sports Wagering, a department operating within the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. State lotteries play a key role in sports betting expansion in a number of states such as West Virginia.
There will be retail sportsbooks as well as mobile sports betting, which means that sports betting will be wide-ranging in the state. A total of 15 licenses will be up for grabs.
Five of the licenses will be for retail operations, with the remaining ten set aside for online operators. A competitive bidding process will see who receives the respective licenses.
No all-encompassing solid revenue share deal will be in place as part of the bill. Instead, the Lottery will be able to negotiate the terms with each of the licensees.
Anyone who is at least 18 years old will be able to place a sports bet and register for a mobile sports betting account remotely. In many states, bettors are initially required to go to a physical location to sign up for their account. In-play bets can only be placed through online sportsbooks, and there will be no betting on events involving New Hampshire colleges, or college events taking place in the state.
There are hopes from one of the bill sponsors, Representative Timothy Lang, that some of the restrictions can be removed in the future.
What does the future hold?
New Hampshire is only a small state, with a population of about 1.3 million people. There are currently no casinos in the region, but there are some smaller-scale gambling operations that offer forms of casino gaming like roulette, craps, and blackjack.
The racetracks no longer host races but operate as racinos, and the state lottery is popular. However, there is hope that legalizing sports betting will have a decent impact on the fortunes of the state. Tax revenues from the activity will be greatly welcomed. The state is also using this as a vehicle to stop illegal sports betting from taking place.
New Hampshire mobile sports betting could attract a lot of attention from neighboring states. People will likely cross state lines regularly to place mobile sports bets. For instance, most Rhode Island residents are closer to New Hampshire state lines than to the casinos in their own state – which only have retail sportsbooks.
The target date for the sportsbooks to launch is July 1, 2020. This gives the regulator time to develop a solid regulatory framework for the sector.