Vermont Committee Likely to Recommend Legal Sports Betting

  • A committee will deliver a report on sports betting next week
  • The committee is likely to recommend creating the new market
  • The report suggests allowing from two to six online betting operators
  • Vermont’s governor has been supportive of the idea before
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A committee is likely to recommend creating a Vermont sports betting market. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Vermont sports betting on the way?

A committee in Vermont has begun drafting recommendations for legal sports betting ahead of a meeting with the state government.

nine-member team was assembled earlier this year to discuss a variety of outcomes

The committee spent the early parts of the week theorizing guidelines for what the sports betting market would look like. The nine-member team was assembled earlier this year to discuss a variety of outcomes, specifically socioeconomic development, that would follow the legalization of Vermont sports betting.

The issue is likely to make lawmakers’ agenda early in the 2023 legislative session. Depending on the report from the committee, Vermont could become the 37th state to pass pro-sports betting legislation.

Weighing the options

Lawmakers across the country have grappled with balancing the pros and cons that come from sports betting. Many supporters point to the increased revenue and state funding through taxes, while critics cite increasing numbers of addicts and criminal syndicates.

highlighted major issues and a flow chart for the legalization process

All of those and more could appear in the committee’s report. So far, the committee has operated largely under the framework of a 12-page document called “Creating the Sports Wagering Regulatory Framework,” prepared by Vermont Office of Legislative Counsel’s Tucker Anderson, which highlighted major issues and a flow chart for the legalization process.

Officials are considering a variety of outcomes, including a renewed ban on sports betting, retail-only participation, or complete widespread mobile and in-person operations. 

One of the key issues being discussed is how the state could grant the necessary regulatory power to the Department of Liquor and Lottery. The committee also wants to ensure that regulators “have sufficient authority to respond to the rapidly changing market” in order to “establish a robust and responsive administrative structure.”

The latest draft also recommends a “minimum of two but not more than six” operators. That figure is based on the smaller size of the state and the expected economic boost.

Judging the climate

Vermont is not only in the minority of states without legal sports betting markets, but it is also a lone wolf in the northeast, where every surrounding state has legal sports betting. Massachusetts and Maine have not yet launched their markets, but both have adopted legislation and are in the process of approaching operational status. 

Nearby states New York and New Jersey have also been major benefactors from local sports betting markets, producing record totals and completely revitalizing the states’ entertainment sectors and tax collection funds.

Governor Phil Scott is likely to support legalization

Vermont Governor Phil Scott is likely to support legalization after showing signs of support in the past. The state Senate also appears to be on board, whereas the House of Representatives is stuck in a debate-filled logjam.

The committee’s report could be key in dissolving the disagreement in that chamber of government. As it stands, the committee is likely to suggest the creation of mobile and retail sports betting markets to immediately fuel the state’s tax kitty and grow the betting market.

The committee has also estimated the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery would incur nearly half a million dollars in expenses while setting up the market. The final report is expected to be delivered on Thursday, December 15.