New Hampshire is poised to become the next state to legalize sports betting. Yesterday, the state legislature approved a bill legalizing in-person sportsbooks and mobile betting apps. The bill has been sent to the desk of governor Chris Sununu.
Governor Sununu is expected to sign the bill as he has voiced support of sports betting in the past. Additionally, his budget proposal in February included $10 million in additional revenue from sports betting.
Barring any last-minute changes, the NH sports betting law will authorize ten retail sportsbooks and five mobile betting apps. The bill calls for a minimum age of 18 and will create the Division of Sports Betting under the New Hampshire Lottery to regulate the industry.
If Governor Sununu signs the bill as expected, the next step will be for the newly-created Division of Sports Wagering to draw up regulations governing the industry. The Division will also select locations for retail sportsbooks and hold a competitive bidding process to choose the five mobile betting operators.
A Look Inside the NH Sports Betting Bill
HB 480 calls on the NH Lottery Commission to regulate sports betting through a new division to be called the Division of Sports Wagering. The Division will have significant leeway in establishing additional regulations, but the law itself also sets a few ground rules:
- Sets a maximum of 10 retail sportsbooks
- Up to five mobile betting sites
- Operators will be chosen through a competitive bidding process
- Professional and college sports betting allowed
- Wagers on college games involving NH teams prohibited
- Operators are not required to buy official league data
- Minimum age of 18 to bet on sports
- Establishes a new Council for Responsible Gambling
- Mobile betting operators must offer self-exclusion programs
- Mobile operators must allow customers to set daily, weekly and monthly wager limits
- Wagering accounts may be funded with cash, cash equivalent, PayPal, debit card, bank transfer, promotional funds and “any other means approved by the executive director”
- Proceeds received by the Lottery Commission from operators earmarked for the Education Fund
Who will offer sports betting in New Hampshire?
It is unknown at this point which operators will be selected to run in-person and mobile sportsbooks in New Hampshire. The bill calls for a “competitive bid process” that will first involve the state selecting a number of qualified sports betting operators and from there will select the five that offer the largest percentage of revenue to the state.
First, the state will select a group of potential bidders based on their financial responsibility, character, integrity, retail and mobile capabilities, contribution to economic development in the state and commitment to responsible gambling.
Operators that are selected based on those criteria will then bid to offer sports betting. From there, the state is to choose the five bidders who offer the greatest percentage of revenue to the state.
What Happens Next
The bill goes next to the desk of Governor Sununu for one more signature to become law. Barring any surprises, the governor should sign the bill within the next month. The Sports Wagering Division will be formed, begin issuing regulations and hold a bidding process to approve sports betting providers.
According to local media reports, the first wagers may be taken by early 2020. A financial impact report included in HB 480 estimates sports betting will increase tax revenue to the state by the following amounts over the next three years:
- FY 2021: $11,250,000
- FY 2022: $11,750,000
- FY 2023: $12,500,00