New Hampshire lawmakers last week killed one gaming bill to save another. With the blessing of its sponsor, the House 86’d casino bill SB 310, 289-63, which basically clears a path for sports betting bill HB 480 to get approval. The bill passed the House 269-82 in mid-March, and late last week passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, 5-0, with an “Ought Pass” recommendation. It could be up for a vote by the full Senate as early as Wednesday.
Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D-District 20), architect of SB 310, which would have allowed two video lottery and gaming facilities as well as allowing licensed sports books to run sports pools, has championed a gaming expansion in New Hampshire for 20 years. None of the more than a dozen gaming expansion bills that he has filed in the last two decades has passed out of the state’s legislature, referred to as the General Court. SB 310 passed out of the Senate on March 21, but the House clearly has no interest in adding casinos to the state’s landscape.
The House voted to “indefinitely postpone” D’Allesandro’s bill, which means casino gaming cannot come up for discussion again this session or next.
Lottery would regulate, betting on NH colleges banned
Representative Tim Lang (R-Belknap 4) introduced his sports betting bill on January 10 and by the time it passed out of the House, it called for 10 sports betting licenses, state-wide mobile and would prohibit betting on New Hampshire collegiate teams. The New Hampshire Lottery would not only be the regulator, but would also be allowed to run its own sportsbook.
Should sports getting out of the General Court, it’s a good bet that Governor Chris Sununu will sign off. He addressed sports betting in his February budget address, saying, “Given our new opportunities to legalize sports betting in a responsible and reliable way, and capture more revenue for our education system, I say we go all in and get it done.”
Sununu projects that the state will take in $10 million in sports betting revenue annually.
Sununu is one of four governors across the country to endorse sports betting. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker tasked the state legislature to legalize this year, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker filed his own sports betting bill in January, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont had targeted sports betting as a potential new revenue source in his budget address.
Illinois lawmakers have held multiple informational hearings on sports betting and Massachusetts’ Joint Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee is set to hold hearings May 28. Lamont has since backed off the hope that sports betting would be legalized in Connecticut this year, due to slow negotiations with tribal interests and a lack of consensus in the general assembly about what sports betting should look like.
To date, Rhode Island is the only New England state to legalize sports betting.