New Hampshire House, Senate bills pave the way for sports betting

Proposals follow U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision

Sports betting in New Hampshire would be made available like keno, at multiple retail establishments and even through mobile apps, if a House bill becomes law, though Sen. Lou D’Alessandro, D-Manchester, is proposing another measure that would tie it to casino gambling.

Either way, sports betting – made possible by last spring’s U.S. Supreme Court decisions – would be a big business in New Hampshire, according to the NH Lottery Commission, which would regulate it under either proposal.

The Lottery Commission said Granite Staters currently wager somewhere between $140 million and $280 million on sports annually, which could translate into $1.5 million to $7.5 million in revenue to the state the first year, and between $2.75 million and $13.5 million by the third, according to the fiscal note attached to the House bill. It’s estimated to cost about $800,000 to regulate it, at least under the House proposal.

Under House Bill 480, the state would bid out contracts to a sports betting vendor which would set up retail establishments throughout the state in communities that approve allowing them.

Under the measure, 10 percent of whatever the state takes in would be used to fight gambling addiction.

The bill is silent on whether the retail establishments would be in standalone storefronts or housed in existing establishments, like bars or convenience stores. Nor does the bill mention any limit on how many there would be.

The Lottery Commission would hire nine people to regulate the betting, which accounts for most of the state’s expense.

The vendor could also set up a computer system to handle betting by mobile app.

All bets must be made by a person, over 18 and physically located in the state. Bets can be placed on any pro sports event but only on college sports games without any New Hampshire teams. And no betting would be allowed on high school or fantasy sports at all.

These restrictions are similar to states that already have set up sports betting, like New Jersey, which limits sports betting to its casinos and racetracks.

D’Alessandro said his bill would do the same, including sports betting in his perennial casino gambling bill, which envisions two casinos in the state.

“I’m not convinced that spreading it out is the way to go,” D’Alessandro told NH Business Review. =“I think there will be plenty of opportunity in a few places. It would be easier to monitor and you can have a safe and secure environment.”

Under his bill, the state would get a 12 percent take, but he is still waiting on more feedback from the Lottery Commission.

The House bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Tim Lang, R- Sanbornton, could not be reached for comment at deadline. The bill is currently in the House Ways and Meeting Committee. A hearing date has yet to be scheduled.

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