Less than a month after New Hampshire legalized sports betting, preparations to contract with vendors and develop regulations are underway. New Hampshire Lottery staff is currently drawing up a request for proposal that will go out to potential vendors. The Lottery will post it publicly this week, as the Granite State begins to narrow down who will operate the state’s 10 physical and five online/mobile sportsbooks.
New Hampshire Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre told Sports Handle last Thursday that more than 20 potential vendors have contacted him to express interest in partnering with the Lottery, which according to the new law would regulate sports wagering and also have the right to offer some sports betting products. Though McIntyre declined to list who the interested parties are, it’s likely fair to assume that DraftKings, which has its headquarters in nearby Boston, as well as FanDuel, William Hill, and many of the other “usual suspects” will be in the mix.
“We’re in a unique situation of being an operator and regulator,” McIntyre said. “The law envisions us contracting out and sort of managing the day-to-day operations in terms of a 10,000-foot view.”
‘The New Hampshire advantage’
The situation will be similar to that in Delaware or Rhode Island, both of which have legal sports betting overseen by the state lottery. The key difference is that New Hampshire will contract and partner with multiple operators rather than just one. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed sports betting into law on July 12.
Sununu said. "This year, we crossed over $100 million for the first time out of New Hampshire Lottery going right back into the schools. That's real money."
— 6oh3Patriot (@6oh3Patriot) July 13, 2019
New Hampshire’s new law allows for 10 physical sportsbooks, but towns and cities have the right to vote on whether or not to have a sportsbook within their limits. That said, it’s likely that sports betting will first launch in the virtual world, as there’s less set-up involved and many vendors come in with an off-the-shelf product.
New Hampshire also finds itself uniquely positioned in terms of taxes. New Hampshire doesn’t have sales or income tax, so the state will impose only federal tax on wins big enough to be reported. McIntyre referred to it as “the New Hampshire advantage.”
The tax landscape has long made New Hampshire a destination for its neighbors — residents of Massachusetts, in particular, have been known to cross the border to shop, buy lottery tickets, and at one time, buy alcohol on days it was prohibited in Massachusetts.
From McIntyre’s perspective, New Hampshire sits in another unique situation, and it may be fussier about who it offers licenses to than other jurisdictions because rather than just offering business licenses, each vendor will operate alongside the Lottery.
“We’re going to want [partners] that have the most appeal to the consumers,” McIntyre said. “We have an existing database of players, I think we tend to have a little more sophisticated consumer, so we’re going to be actively engaged in the business.
“We’re looking for the right partner. … I don’t want bad, I don’t want cheap, ramshackle will not work.”
Potential launch: 1st quarter of 2020
As lawmakers and officials in other states continually point to the start of football season, the Super Bowl or March Madness as potential launch dates, McIntyre said “Q1” when asked when sports betting might be live. And asked how the Lottery would prioritize launches — some states have chosen to launch physical sportsbooks ahead of mobile — McIntyre said the Lottery will license in the order that vendors are ready.
When New Hampshire does launch, it will become the second New England state to do so. Rhode Island legalized in June 2018 and its physical sportsbooks went live around last Thanksgiving. Lawmakers pushed through a new law legalizing online and mobile sports betting at its two casinos, and the goal is for those to be live by the start of the NFL season.
While Massachusetts lawmakers have discussed sports betting since the beginning of the year, there has been no meaningful movement in the General Court. Among other New England states, Connecticut’s lawmakers adjourned without legalizing, but on Wednesday unveiled a draft bill that would legalize online/mobile sports betting, online poker, house-banked table games, slots, and an online lottery.