Vermont Makes History With Sports Betting Bill

HB 127 is the first sports betting bill to pass through any of Vermont’s legislative chambers.

Last Updated: Mar 24, 2023 4:12 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
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Vermont is one step closer to bringing legal sports betting to another state in the Northeast.

On Friday, the Vermont House passed House Bill 127, which would authorize between two to six online sports betting sites to operate in the state. The bill — sponsored by Rep. Matthew Birong — would also legalize betting on horse races but would not authorize wagers on Vermont colleges.

The bill, which has received support from Gov. Phill Scott, proposes sports betting to be regulated by the Department of Liquor and Lottery, which selects operators through a bidding process. Operators are required to share a portion of their revenue with the department once Vermont sports betting becomes legalized.

“There is a 20% minimum revenue share built into HB 127 now,” said Tucker Anderson of the General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Counsel during a discussion of the bill on Friday.

More details

HB 127 — introduced on January 31 — will allow any potential sports bettor to place a wager if they are at least 18 years old. However, bettors will not be allowed to use credit cards for deposits.

The bill also vows to address problem gambling through a fund to create a program for agencies.

“The program is put in place to give licensed counselors from all of the various networks to make sure there’s education and awareness of the resources that are available,” said Anderson.

HB 127 will now head to the Senate for further consideration. Sports fans in Vermont hope the Senate will decide its fate before May 9 — the end of the state’s current legislative session.

Another sports betting bill — Senate Bill 105 — has also been introduced but has been tabled.

Emerging region

Sports betting in Vermont would allow the state to reap the benefits of additional tax revenue like its neighboring states.

New York legalized online sports betting in January 2022. In February 2023, the Empire State generated $108.2 million in gross revenue from sports betting.

New Hampshire also legalized online sports betting in 2019. Last month, the Granite State generated $3.3 million in revenue from wagers via DraftKings — New Hampshire’s exclusive sportsbook.

Massachusetts finally authorized online sports betting earlier this month. Lawmakers currently project the industry to generate roughly $60 million in annual tax revenue for the Bay State.

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