Vermont’s Senate Finance Committee got its first look Tuesday at what legal sports betting could look like in the state, and it will hear Wednesday from representatives from the Department of Liquor and Lottery and the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe before moving forward with a vote in the future.
The committee is the bill’s final stop before the Senate floor, where Vermont lawmakers could make theirs the second state this year to send legal wageringver to a governor for signature.
The first was Kentucky, where Gov. Andy Beshear signed sports betting into law March 31.
The Vermont sports betting bill passed the House March 24.
Tucker Anderson of the Office of Legislative Counsel walked committee members on Tuesday through HB 127, which would allow only for statewide mobile wagering, with up to six platforms. The only other state that allows digital betting but no brick-and-mortar sportsbooks is Tennessee, though other states have considered it.
Should Vermont legalize, it will be the final New England state to do so. Retail and digital betting are live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Maine lawmakers legalized last year, but regulators there are still developing rules.
Money matters at the fore
Tuesday’s meeting was essentially a review of the bill with the opportunity for committee members to ask questions. Because the Finance Committee focuses on money matters, many of the questions revolved around how and where winnings would be taxed, where fees would be directed, and other fiscal issues.
One senator suggested that the bill appears to lack a mechanism to tax winning bettors and said that some states tax gambling winnings at up to 51%. Of concern was whether a wagering winner is a Vermont resident or not, that the state should get “first pass” at taxing any winnings so the state benefits.
The Vermont Legislature adjourns May 19, giving lawmakers just over a month to send HB 127 to Gov. Phil Scott.