Sports betting could be coming soon to New Hampshire as lawmakers have taken another step toward the legalization process. The sports betting market has grown at a rapid pace throughout the US during the last 8 months as a number of states including New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have legalized sports betting.
House bill 480 seeking to regulate the sports betting industry in the Granite State easily managed to pass the House with 269 out of 351 voting in favour of the bill this week. The legislation now enters the Senate for review.
The legislation would allow both mobile and retail gambling, and would pave the way for up to 10 sports betting facilities in the state.
Governor Chris Sununu will have the final say on whether or not New Hampshire should embrace sports betting, but the governor will most likely sign the bill as he already expressed his support for legalized sports betting in February, during his budget address.
But not everyone is happy with the proposal. Critics argue regulated sports gambling will only increase the number of gambling addicts in the state, and thus place added strain on mental health workers.
Following the House’s approval of the bill, lottery leaders from New Hampshire and its neighbouring states Rhode Island and Massachusetts, along with industry stakeholders, legislators and legal experts met at the University of New Hampshire School of Law in Concord to address questions and concerns on the subject.
Charlie McIntyre, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission said a regulated sports betting market will not only protect customers, but also boost the needed resources to help problem gamblers in the state. He went on to say that the illegal market does not offer the same level of consumer protection.
Under the proposal, 10 percent of sports gambling revenue will go to problem gambling treatment and prevention services. The state’s education system will also get its own share. Daniel Wallach, an attorney who owns a law firm focusing on gaming law, has backed the bill, labeling it as a “pace-setter” in tackling public health concerns surrounding gambling.
Up to $13.5 Million Could Go To NH Education System
If it clears the chamber and gets approved by the State Governor, the state’s education trust could get as much as $7.5 million in 2021 from gambling revenue. By 2023, that amount could go as high as $13.5 million.
The state’s lottery, which has long been promoting itself as a major financial supporter of New Hampshire’s education system, will have full authority over the sports gambling industry once the bill is passed. McIntyre said the state’s education has hugely benefited from revenue generated by the lottery, and sports betting will be able to boost it further.