The state of New Hampshire on Wednesday took a step toward opening its legal sports betting market when it published a request for proposal for potential vendors. The 71-page document was sent to interested parties as well as posted on the State of New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services’ Bureau of Purchase and Property website under “Current Bidding Opportunities.” Interested vendors have until Aug. 26 to reply.
The RFP includes a partial timeline for sports betting, targeting Oct. 17 as the date by which the Lottery will select vendors and begin contract negotiations with some. Final approval of contracts is set for Nov. 20, and the Lottery will contract with multiple vendors, as the new law allows for 10 physical sportsbooks (pending local approval) and up to five online/mobile sportsbooks, which do not have to be tethered to a bricks-and-mortar location. The Lottery itself will be seeking a partner to support sports betting products across its network of approximately 1,400 retailers.
The RFP says, “It is the Lottery’s intent to begin offering sports wagering as soon as practical after execution of the contract(s).” Elsewhere, Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre told Sports Handle last week that he’s looking at the first quarter of 2020 for a launch.
Lottery to regulate and partner with operators
New Hampshire legalized sports betting on July 12, when Governor Chris Sununu signed the bill less than a month after lawmakers approved it.
There doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary in the RFP. Contracts will be awarded on a non-exclusive basis and will be for either six-year (mobile, retail) or five-year terms (Lottery).
Proposals will be graded out of a total of 1,000 points, and all information other than the number of proposals received will be kept confidential throughout the process.
In New Hampshire, the Lottery will be the regulator and partner with operators. According the RFP, any vendor that gets a license must be prepared to develop its own skin (whether online or physical), build out retail space (unless seeking a mobile-only license), acquire customers, supply all hardware, software and networking capabilities, supply its own customer support and sports betting services, develop a player wallet, monitor for integrity and create a responsible gaming program, and provide financial reporting and auditing services.
Another big one? “Proposer must have an established sports betting software platform that is currently in use in at least three jurisdictions,” the paper reads. (It’s unspecified whether these are U.S. jurisdictions.)
In essence, New Hampshire is seeking complete and established packages in their potential partners.
RFP grading system
Those replying to the RFP will be required to describe the following and be graded:
- Describe history, business structure, experience and capabilities (125 points);
- Outline integrity (100 points)
- Explain how they would design and implement a mobile, retail or lottery-based sports betting platform (150 points);
- Describe how they’ll participate in economic development (100 points);
- Describe hardware and software solutions (175 points);
- Explain all sports betting related services (175 points);
- Detail compliance plans (75 points);
- Detail responsible gaming plans (75 points); and
- Explain accounting and auditing systems (25 points).
In one section, prospective mobile sportsbook operators are asked: “How would you propose to design and implement a mobile sports betting platform for the New Hampshire market?” And in responding, to address at a minimum:
According to the RFP, the Lottery made $100.7 mm in profit for fiscal year 2019. It went online with its products in September 2018. When sports betting is fully live in New Hampshire, consumers will be able to bet online or via mobile apps, at designated “sports lounges” around the state or at any of the Lottery’s 1,400 kiosks. Individual cities and towns have the right to vote on whether or not they a physical sports betting location within their borders, so it is likely that mobile and lottery versions of sports betting will go live first.
New Hampshire’s open, competitive marketplace has been lauded by industry stakeholders, and is a departure from how other some other Lottery-run states are running sports betting. In Delaware and Rhode Island, both of that ilk, only a single operator is on the market. The same will be true in Washington, D.C. and Montana.
New Hampshire is the second New England state to legalize sports betting behind Rhode Island, which did so in June 2018. Rhode Island’s two physical sportsbooks launched late last year, and in March, state lawmakers legalized mobile and online sports betting, with the intent of launching that by the start of the NFL season next month.