Sports Betting Bill Approved by New Hampshire House

New Hampshire could soon join a number of states who made wagering on sports legal, providing the new bill gets the necessary approval in the Senate.

According to available information, this piece of legislation has certain chances of making it through all legislative obstacles, and if it indeed succeeds in it, the Granite State will allow retail and mobile wagering on its territory, and will also become the second New England state to offer regulated sports betting to its residents since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban on it in May last year.

The House Bill 480 (HB 480) has been given the green light by the state’s House last week, with a 269-82 vote in favour of legalizing sports betting. Now that this hurdle has been passed, the proposal needs to get the approval of the Senate.

Waiting For the Senate

If the Senate says “yes” to it, then the only thing needed will be the signature of Governor Chris Sununu, which shouldn’t be a problem, as he’s known as a supporter of sports betting, which he publicly admitted during his budget address back in February.

Under the provisions of the new bill, local bettors will be allowed to bet on both professional and college games as long as local teams do not take part in those games.

Once the bill is signed into law, it would allow both retail and digital wagering in New Hampshire. The retail would enable towns to open land-based sportsbook facilities at existing commercial business, such as bars, hotels and resorts.

Under the provisions of this bill, up to 10 such facilities could be opened across the state.

Experts believe the mobile vertical could be the driving force behind growth in New Hampshire’s regulated market. If everything goes through, it is estimated that betting could bring between $1.5 million and $7.5 million in fiscal 2021.

This money would be sent to the state’s education trust, while the authors of the bill estimate the funds for this trust could rise to $13.5 million by fiscal 2023.

Safety Concerns

However, there are those who are concerned that legalizing sports betting could lead to a rise in problem gambling in the state. But the sponsors of the bill say the new piece of legislation would offer an increased level of protection.

HB 480 stipulates that 10% of sports betting revenue will be used for services and programmes supporting the prevention and treatment of problem gambling and addiction.

Commenting on this, Daniel Wallach, an attorney at a law firm that focuses on the legalization and regulation of sports gambling, said that not many states mandate of a portion of tax revenue to be awarded to programmes and initiative aimed at helping problem gamblers.

Wallach also pointed out the importance of a regulated market, as foreign-based betting sites and black market use no means to deal with this important issue.

If New Hampshire legislators succeed in making sports betting a reality soon, it could become the second state in New England to have done so. Rhode Island made wagering on sports legal at two of the state’s casinos last year.