Vermont Sports Betting Committee Weighing Legal Wagering Details

The legislative activity of late in neighboring states has made the lack of legal sports betting in Vermont loom larger over lawmakers, as residents are already wagering with offshore or out-of-state bookmakers.

Last Updated: Sep 27, 2022 4:45 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
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A legislative committee is beginning to flesh out the notion of legal sports betting in Vermont, which is one of a shrinking number of U.S. states without any regulated channels for event wagering.

The Vermont General Assembly’s Sports Betting Study Committee spent time on Tuesday hearing from government bureaucrats, an operator, and a sports bettor on the subject of retail and online sports betting

Vermont currently has no legal sports betting, making it the only New England state to have not authorized any form of event wagering. Both Maine and Massachusetts took steps this past legislative session to legalize sports betting, but Vermont politicians only recently formed their committee and continue to mull over the issue. 

That legislative activity of late in neighboring states has made the lack of sports betting in Vermont loom larger over lawmakers, as residents are already wagering with offshore or out-of-state bookmakers. Now, though, it appears Vermont policymakers are leaning towards implementing some form of legal wagering, instead of weighing whether or not to do so at all.

“We've already said we don't want to be a prohibitionist market,” committee chair Wendy Knight said during a meeting on Tuesday. 

In the meantime, Vermont’s sports-betting committee continues to study the subject. The group plans to keep meeting and will eventually prepare a report for members of the legislature. 

Decisions, decisions

Among the decisions before Vermont lawmakers (outlined by a recent policy paper) is the type of legal sports betting market they favor, if they favor one at all. 

One model would involve more direct involvement by the state, such as having wagering run through the lottery or via a few exclusive contracts with operators. The other would be a licensed model, in which a regulator provides permits that would allow for a multitude of operators to take bets. Also to be determined is whether there should be retail sports betting, online sports betting, or both.

Then there are other details to be ironed out, such as the minimum age for wagering and what sort of events can be bet. Determining the tax rate for sportsbooks is another matter that must be settled.

Among those appearing before Vermont's sports-betting committee on Tuesday were a government-affairs manager for DraftKings (which is based in nearby Boston), as well as representatives from the public protection division of the state attorney general's office and the Office of Legislative Counsel. Another speaker was someone who has actually wagered on sports, to provide that perspective to the committee. 

“As a player, it would be nice to have the convenience to be able to take advantage of the DraftKings app,” sports bettor John Herko told committee members.

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