Vermont Sports Betting Committee Favoring Online-Only Start to Wagering

While Vermont's Sports Betting Study Committee is backing a mobile beginning to legal sports betting in the state, it wants a study of its retail potential as well.

Oct 25, 2022 • 15:19 ET • 2 min read
Vermont Lake Monsters sports betting legislation
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The committee studying sports betting in Vermont prefers that the very rural state begin with a purely mobile model of wagering but start thinking about what sort of retail action there could be in the future.

Vermont’s Sports Betting Study Committee met again on Tuesday and heard from New Hampshire Lottery Commission officials who shared their experience with legal sports betting in the neighboring New England state. 

New Hampshire has just one legal online sportsbook: DraftKings. And, according to the representatives of the lottery, about 80% of their sports-betting handle is mobile action while the remaining 20% is placed at one of the state’s three retail sportsbooks. 

“But those three locations are done with design,” added Charles McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. “I would submit to you that a population density of sufficiency is needed to host a sportsbook.”

Reserving judgment on retail

Ultimately, Vermont’s committee members effectively agreed the state lacks such a population right now, as it has about half as many people as New Hampshire, and many of those residents live in rural areas. As a result, the committee will be recommending to the legislature that Vermont start with an online-only model of sports betting.

That said, the committee is not abandoning any hope of a retail sportsbook in Vermont, which currently has no casinos or active horse-racing tracks. In recommending the mobile start to legal sports betting in the state, the committee is also suggesting that, within three years, a report to the legislature is filed looking at the potential of retail sports betting in Vermont. 

“If that's our recommendation, is to start with mobile sports betting, I think you need to give that some time … to see how that plays out in Vermont and to see the successes,” committee chair Wendy Knight said. 

The exception

Vermont is the only New England state that has not authorized some form of sports betting. However, lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year that led to the creation of the committee, and its members are now set to recommend that the state implement legal sports wagering.

The Sports Betting Study Committee is scheduled to meet weekly through November 15 and to report to the legislature in December, just ahead of the return of the Vermont legislature in January. The committee has already agreed that it will recommend Vermont have a legal minimum of two to six online sportsbook operators in the state and that the government be entitled to at least 20% of revenue generated by mobile wagering by law.

Moreover, the committee also agreed on Tuesday to recommend that the state use its existing administrative structures to oversee sports betting.

“I'm of the belief that we go with existing and see if we have the capacity within that and then make the decision once we evaluate,” committee member Rep. Matthew Birong said.

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