As states continue to propel the breakneck expansion of sports betting in the United States, the focus has zeroed in on the New England area as multiple states in the region have their eye on the revenue that New Jersey and Pennsylvania have enjoyed in recent months.
A few of the states in New England getting the most attention include New Hampshire and Maine. New Hampshire opened its doors to online betting last week and enjoyed a handle of $3.44 million in the first week of business and Maine could legalize wagering by the end of this week if Governor Janet Mills signs the bill that passed in June by midnight on Friday.
Even though states like New Hampshire and Rhode Island are already beginning to reap the dividends of legalized betting, states like New York and Vermont continue to tread lightly as their lawmakers decide the best path forward to legalizing sports wagering.
Vermont lawmakers, state Senators Dick Sears and Michael Sirotkin, hope to fast track mobile betting in the state with the introduction of Bill S.213, calling for operators and suppliers to pay a license fee of $10,000 annually.
The bill would allow anyone over 18 to place a bet with their mobile device as long as they are inside the Vermont boundaries. The details of the bill include the marginal fee for operators, a 10% tax on all daily fantasy games and betting to fall under the umbrella of the state’s Board of Liquor and Lottery.
The renewed push to bring betting into Vermont is widely seen as a response to the legalization of New Hampshire and Rhode Island. As neighboring states begin to post revenue reports of millions of dollars, states like Vermont will be moved to create their own betting laws to avoid the loss of future tax revenue.
Implementing an online-only law will be faster to implement as the state won’t have to build sportsbooks but rather locations for players to register.
Vermont does not have casinos, only the lottery and the tentative plan would use lottery locations for wagering as long as the establishment wins a betting license and pays their fees.
Even though New York has several upstate casinos that offer sports betting, the question remains as lawmakers wonder if the state will open its doors to online-only betting to stave off part of a $6 billion deficit in the state’s yearly budget.
“I am more optimistic this year than last year,” Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. told Legal Sports Report. Addabbo sponsored the bill that allowed wagering, watching it pass the Senate last June, only to die in the Assembly. “I can only hope it’s in his State of the State or budget talks. (Gov. Cuomo) has to understand that you’re in a fiscal situation here and can’t cut your way out of a $6 billion deficit. A significant source of new funds is going to be needed.”
Governor Cuomo’s administration continues to doubt that widespread sports betting will have economic benefits to the state and believes attempts to pass the bill will face constitutionality issues down the road when the measure becomes law.
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