Two New Hampshire Communities To Vote On Retail Gambling

Two seacoast communities in New Hampshire could vote to allow 1 of 10 brick-and-mortar sports betting locations to host. Hampton and Seabrook must decide whether they should be competing for a retail shop in DraftKings.

At March 10 Town Meetings, Hampton and Seabrook selectors will be asking voters if they wish to “opt-in” to the plan that would allow retail sportsbook locations to be built. Ocean Gaming at Hampton Beach and The Brook in Seabrook had requested that vote.

Lawmakers in New Hampshire officially approved sports gambling in July 2019 but the law did not come into force until January. The state immediately saw positive returns, as sportsbooks report an estimated $21 million changed hands over the month. The mobile sportsbook, powered by Draftkings, dominated the market early on.

Hampton selectors authorised voters to cast their votes on the initiative during a meeting in December. This came after a group of towns voted against allowing sportsbooks in their communities to open. In fact, only five of the nine communities that put the initiative before voters gave approval at this point-Berlin, Claremont, Laconia, Manchester, and Somersworth. That leaves Hampton and Seabrook in a good position if voters should approve to open one of those operations.

John Conforti of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission explained: “We are looking to have (retail locations) up and running by hopefully the first part of this year and then be rolled out one at a time over the next several years.”

Conforti noted that even with a successful vote nothing is guaranteed: “There are no guarantees that any specific municipality will be getting a location at this point in time,” he said. “It is merely the town providing eligibility, that they would welcome the establishment if both DraftKings and the Lottery Commission find one they are willing to partner with.”

Local officials in both cities agree that having retail locations can help boost revenue for things like education and charitable donations. DraftKings signed a six year contract with the Lottery Commission of New Hampshire. That deal would pay 50 percent of mobile wagers ‘ gross gaming revenue to support education. These communities count on similar types of deals to assist them in improving local education.