January 27, 2021
New Hampshire was the 14th state to legalize sports betting back in December 2019. Governor Chris Sununu placed the first wager through his mobile device as a historic gesture. Mobile sports wagering is a crucial part of New Hampshire’s gambling industry as there are no commercial casinos in the state.
New Hampshire is home to two charitable casinos and legalized online sports betting. Despite suffering a massive blow in the very first year of operation due to COVID-19, lawmakers in the state are overwhelmed by the response generated by online sports betting.
“Sports betting has been massively successful in New Hampshire,” said state Republican Tim Lang. According to insights from the New Hampshire lottery that is in charge of overseeing sports betting in the state, over $225.7 million was wagered in the state since July, while $18.4 million was generated in revenue.
New Hampshire held a competitive bidding process for potential operators to secure their licenses. DraftKings came out on top with the highest bid, offering to split gaming revenue with the government as long as they retained a monopoly.
Needless to say, the government took the bait, and citizens aged 18 and above can now create a DraftKings account and place a bet. Filotimo Casino & Sportsbooks and The Brook, the two charitable casinos in New Hampshire, have incorporated the DraftKings sportsbooks. However, the gaming kiosks do not offer live in-game odds.
Lang claims this is an unfortunate oversight and needs to be corrected. “This makes zero sense. I could literally be sitting in the casino and place a bet before the game starts. But once the game is live, I would have to take my phone out to place the next bet”, Lang added.
While allowing retail sportsbooks to accept in-play bets, Lang’s Bill – HB 330 – proposes to remove the cap on the number of retail sports betting venues in the state. There can be a maximum of 10 locations in New Hampshire according to current regulations.
This is in line with New Hampshire Lottery trying to introduce sports betting in retail lottery venues. The lottery trademarked the Sports 603 moniker, which represents the only telephone area code in the state.
This isn’t a one-off incident, as nearly two years after filing a dozen sports betting bills in Massachusetts, Senator Brendan Crighton became the first in 2021 to restart the push for legalization.
Lawmakers in the state have dragged their feet for a long while the stakeholders have left no stones unturned in pushing, pleading, and prodding the authorities to push for legalization. Since the historic Supreme Court ruling against PASPA back in 2018, neighbors New Hampshire and Rhode Island have both made steady headway into legalizing online sportsbooks. The effort in Massachusetts, unfortunately, has been lacking.
Crighton spoke to media representatives about his intentions to push for the bill. “People will bet on sports whether or not we legalize it. Just look at our neighbors”, Crighton stated in an interview with the CommonWealth magazine.
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