The New Hampshire House on Thursday concurred on minor changes to sports betting bill HB 480, sending it on to Governor Chris Sununu’s desk. It’s likely Sununu will sign the bill after he included sports betting revenue in his budget address earlier this year, and was one of four governors who called for his state to legalize. One of the others, Illinois, legalized earlier this month.
Thursday’s vote was really just a perfunctory verbal vote. The New Hampshire House initially approved the measure in March, and the Senate added minor amendments before passing it on May 30. It’s projected that Sununu will sign the bill sometime next month.
The bill allows for physical and mobile sportsbook locations. But one of the Senate amendments would limit the number of mobile/internet sportsbooks to five. The number of physical locations was previously limited to 10. Physical locations can be “co-located with other commercial businesses or general commercial retail locations.”
Betting on NH college teams prohibited
According to the Associated Press, also among the amendments is a change that would move the effective date back, so regulators can get rules in place by early 2020, which could mean the state is aiming to open sportsbooks in time for March Madness, the biggest non-football betting event of the calendar year.
Statement from New Hampshire sports betting bill sponsor Rep. Timothy Lang, Sr. (@tlangsr):
“This is good for everyone! Citizens (new consumer protections), businesses (new tourism opportunities) and the State (more revenue for education funding!)”
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) June 13, 2019
Other key components of the bill:
- Betting on New Hampshire college sports teams and college sporting events in New Hampshire is prohibited, but bettors can wager on other collegiate teams;
- Remote registration for mobile apps is allowed;
- The New Hampshire Lottery will be the regulator and a new Division of Sports Wagering will be created;
- Proceeds from sports betting will be earmarked for education.
Absent from the legislation is any sort of mandate for use of official league data or a payout to the professional sports leagues. New Hampshire has no professional sports teams within its borders, but state residents are avid fans of Boston’s sports teams, including the defending champion New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox. It’s likely that New Hampshire sportsbooks would have fared well the last couple of weeks, as the Boston Bruins got to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to St. Louis in Game 7 last night.
New Hampshire would be the second New England state to legalize sports betting behind Rhode Island, which did last summer. Rhode Island’s two physical sportsbooks launched late last year and the state is poised to offer mobile by football season. Currently, only Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have state-wide mobile sports betting.
Connecticut’s state legislature adjourned earlier this month with no action, and Massachusetts lawmakers held comprehensive hearings on sports betting in May, but no bills have begun moving through the state legislature yet.
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