Is Online Sports Betting Legal in New Hampshire?
No, sports betting is not legal in New Hampshire but with recent changes in federal legislation and a few of the state’s neighbors taking steps to allow legal betting on sports, that could soon change.
Despite the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) by the Supreme Court in May 2018, New Hampshire currently does not have a bill on the table for legalizing sports betting.
However, one state senator said in 2018 that if he was re-elected in November of 2018, he’d file a legal sports betting bill immediately in 2019. Luckily for gamblers in New Hampshire he earned another two-year term.
In addition to pressure from key state lawmakers, and nearby states including Rhode Island and Massachusetts in various stages of introducing legal sports betting, there are several other factors that are in play that make legalization a strong possibility for the first time in history.
In this guide to NH sports betting we’ll dig into the past, present and future of the state’s legal landscape and fill you in on why 2019 will be a pivotal year for betting on sports in the Granite State.
Check out our full state by state legal sports betting guides for more info on other parts of the US.
New Hampshire Betting Laws Summary
- Sports betting is currently illegal in New Hampshire.
- A new legalization bill looks like it will be introduced in January, although nothing has happened as of this writing.
- While sports betting is illegal, horse and dog racing are legal and the state has the oldest state lottery in the country.
- As of 2017, daily fantasy sports gamblers can place legal wagers in the state of New Hampshire.
- Key state lawmakers have already announced plans to file a sports betting bill early in 2019.
The Current Sports Betting Situation in New Hampshire
Despite its northeast residence, New Hampshire more closely resembles many southern states when it comes to its strict anti-gambling laws.
Currently, sports betting is illegal in New Hampshire. On a larger scale, gambling in general is also illegal with the current law being defined as, “risking something of value upon a future contingent event not under one's control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that something of value will be received in the event of a certain outcome.”
The definition might be a bit wordy but essentially it bans wagering money or valuables on games of chance. Right now at least, sports betting falls into that category. For that to change, a bill will have to be passed by the state to carve out an exemption for betting on sports, as well as create rules and guidelines to govern how the new industry will operate.
Since the May 2018 historic PAPSA announcement, there have been no bills passed through New Hampshire legislature to change any current laws. However, State Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester) has publicly stated that he will file a bill to legalize sports betting in January and this bill appears to have early support from other state senators from both sides of the aisle.
Lastly, it’s always important to factor in geographical factors when looking at a state's current sports betting situation. Some of New Hampshire’s neighbouring states have also been a bit slow to legalize sports betting, although Rhode Island is already on its way and Massachusetts may not be far behind.
Adjoining states moving towards legalization puts added pressure on the current situation in New Hampshire as they could see local revenue dollars flow into nearby states.
The History of Online Sports Betting in New Hampshire
There’s no history of online sports betting in New Hampshire, because sports gambling has never been legal in the state. New Hampshire does have a unique gambling history, however, as they have the country’s oldest state lottery which began all the way back in 1963 to help raise money for state education programs.
Here are the key events in New Hampshire gambling history you should be aware of:
- 1933 - Legalization of horse race gambling with Pari-Mutuel betting begins. The industry ground to a halt in 2012 but residents are still allowed to make simulcast wagers from other race tracks.
- 1963 & 1964 - The lottery is legalized in 1963 and officially sells its first ticket in 1964 making it the first legalized lottery in the nation and longest standing.
- 1971 - Similar to horse racing brought to the state in 1933, Greyhound racing was legalized but sees the industry diminish and eventually come to an end.
- 2009 - A main reason for the demise of the horse and dog racing industry in the state stems from a massive 10% tax hike imposed on all winning tickets. That law was repealed in 2011 but it was ultimately too late to fix the declining local industry.
- 2012 - Officially the last live horse race in New Hampshire.
- 2014 - Multiple gambling and casino bills are submitted to the state legislature and all but one are denied. The only one to still be determined is changes to state charity gambling law.
Which Online Betting Sites Are Legal in New Hampshire?
As of now, no online sports betting sites are legal. However, looking at other states who have already legalized you can begin to see a potential blueprint for online betting in New Hampshire.
Rhode Island, the closest state to New Hampshire with legalized sports betting, has created sportsbooks in existing casinos. RI Gamblers, however, currently don’t have the option to wager online.
In other states like New Jersey where online sports betting is available, sportsbooks have incorporated physical and online sports betting through existing casinos like William Hill and The Borgata.
Should New Hampshire make the move to legalizing sports gambling, we expect a similar approach. If and when that does happen, this page will have expert reviews and exclusive bonuses for the best New Hampshire online sportsbooks and betting sites.
Which Sports Can You Bet on Online in New Hampshire?
Once legalized, gamblers will be able to bet on a huge variety of different sports from the US and around the world.
One hiccup may be when it comes to wagering on collegiate sports, as the proposed bill that will be filed in January may have legislation against college wagering, as there’s a fear around point shaving and corruption when student athletes are involved.
New Hampshire does not have any major pro sports teams but it is home to the Fisher Cats, a Double-A baseball team affiliated with the MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays. This would be the most popular professional team in the state, as every other prominent sports team is from the collegiate ranks, specifically from Dartmouth and the University of New Hampshire.
Dartmouth’s Big Green hockey team plays in the top college division and has four frozen four appearances to their name, with the last one coming all the way back in 1980.
How to Bet on Sports Legally in New Hampshire
Casino gambling is currently prohibited in New Hampshire, so the state would need to amend the law in order to introduce a legal sportsbook whether it’s online or land-based.
This appears to be the most likely avenue towards legalization as Senator D’Allesandro who looks to file the legalization bill in January would also have a full-fledged casino legislated in his riding as part of the bill. There’s also a possibility of sportsbooks collaborating with or being run by the state lottery.
Until this bill passes though, there are no currently legal ways to gamble on sports in New Hampshire.
Is Betting on Fantasy Sports Legal in New Hampshire?
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) wagering has been legal in New Hampshire since 2017. Players can play through DraftKings, Yahoo!, or FanDuel.
If you’re a resident of New Hampshire and wish to scratch your sports betting itch by playing on fantasy sports sites, you can move forward feeling safe and secure since DFS betting in the US is overseen by both the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and the US Gaming Commission.
What Is the Future of Online Sports Betting in New Hampshire?
The ultimate fate of online sports betting in New Hampshire is up in the air until we see the sports betting bill that’s expected to be filed in 2019.
Right now, the most educated and optimistic guesses have professional sports wagering being legalized over the next 12 months, but there’s uncertainty about amatuer sports wagering. It’s also still unclear whether or not the state will build brick and mortar casinos or run everything online.
The future may also be impacted by the actions of neighbouring states. Rhode Island is the closest to introducing legalization and there are promising steps being taken in Massachusetts as well.
Other states like Vermont and Maine are in a similar position to New Hampshire, which may create urgency for NH to get out in front of the pack.
What to Expect for NH Legal Sports Betting
New Hampshire won’t be among the next group of states to legalize sports betting but it there are promising signs that it will happen in the next year.
A more detailed timeline, and a better idea of what form the new legal sports betting industry will take will both begin to take shape when we see the final bill that’s expected to be brought forward soon.
Check back on this page for big developments in the state’s legislative efforts as well as comprehensive New Hampshire sportsbook reviews when online betting options become available.
Until then we urge gamblers in the Granite State to be patient and start studying the best sports betting strategies because chances are they’ll be able to make legal wagers in the not too distant future.