Summary: A new sports betting bill has been introduced in New Hampshire that would create the first standalone retail shops for the industry in the US.
In the United States, sports betting continues to be the hot topic of discussion. State after state are introducing legislation as the New Year begins to get in on the action. Close to ten states already offer the activity and several have already introduced legislation this year to get the ball rolling to join in. This week, New Hampshire lawmakers decided to introduce a bill that will not only start offering services in their borders but they will also see retail shops added, which would be a first for the United States.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives saw HB 480 introduced this week, a bill with a goal of establishing a system within the Lottery Commission to see sports betting legalized in several formats. Online, mobile and land-based are being considered. A Division of Sports Betting would be created inside the Commission, helping to regulate the new industry.
The legislation essentially puts the Commission in charge, allowing the group to decide if wagering will be offered directly via an authorized Sports Betting Agent or through the agent via mobile devices and physical retail facilities.
It is the physical retail facility portion of the bill that is getting headlines. The state currently does not have any land-based casino facilities. In other states, casinos are the platform for sports betting. Existing operators are able to apply for sports betting licensing and then use their existing facility to open a sports book. That luxury is not available in New Hampshire.
So, the state will have to do something similar as to what is found in the United Kingdom known as betting ships. This would be a first for the United States and certainly something that other states who do not offer casino gaming could consider.
According to the legislation, the cities and towns of the state would have to approve any betting shop installations with a ballot referendum before any sports betting would be authorized in a region. Any anti-gambling municipality will not be allowed to interfere with the digital wagering operation of the state.
Players who took part in sports betting would have to be at least 18 years of age and wagering would not be allowed for college events involving teams of the state or games that take place in the state in general.
If the option is approved, the Commission created could decide to launch their own wagering option. If they do, then they would be given the ability to hire vendors to manage the operations. If a betting agent were to be hired, the agent would have to give a percent of revenues back to the state. The amount is unknown at this time. 10% of that amount would be placed in a fund going to responsible gambling initiatives.
The timeline for the new industry would hopefully see the bill approved by July 1st. Then the process of selecting a betting agent could begin by the first of next year. Legal wagers would then be in operation possibly by the summer of 2020. It will certainly be interesting to see how the legislation progresses and if New Hampshire will be one of the next to launch sports betting services in the US.