In Vermont, several proposals to legalise sports betting failed last year, but their sponsors are back in 2021 again.
Sen. Dick Sears, the lead sponsor, and Sen. Michael Sirotkin, Sen. Christopher Pearson and Sen. Richard Westman, co-sponsors, filed S 77 last week. The bill will legalise VT sports betting through the lottery and allow up to six operators of mobile sportsbooks.
Mobile-only betting bill
Last year, Sears and Sirotkin filed a mobile-only betting bill, but never requested a hearing from a committee. A bill to establish a sports betting study committee was also introduced by Sirotkin, but that ultimately died after passing the Senate, without a hearing from the House committee.
S 77 is currently pending a hearing in the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.
More info on the sports betting bill for Vermont
S 77 is fifteen pages long but does not contain a lot of material. The bill calls for the Liquor and Lotteries Department to sort out a lot of the finer points.
For those 18 or older, the bill will allow betting through Vermont Lottery retailers. It is up to the department, however, to determine what kind of bets will be acceptable.
Although the bill restricts to six the maximum mobile sportsbooks, there is no minimum specified.
S 77 also explicitly forbids betting on colleges in Vermont or any college event that takes place in Vermont. However, that does not involve a restriction on betting on a college tournament involving VT colleges or part of the events taking place in the state.
Unincluded taxes and fees
What it would cost to get one of those six mobile licenses isn’t clear. S 77 does not contain any rates or licensing fees for knowledge or taxes.
In an op-ed with the Brattleboro reformer, Sen. Sears referred to an estimated $3 million in annual tax revenue from sports betting. That’s from the fiscal 2022 budget plan by Gov. Phil Scott that includes $2.5 million in sports betting revenue, Sears told LSR.
Vermont could be surrounded by legal betting sports soon
Vermont could be finished very easily, surrounded by legal sports betting jurisdictions.
Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York are the three border states of Vermont. It is also bordered to its north by the Canadian province of Quebec.
The only one of the four without any legal betting right now is Massachusetts. However, with many MA sports betting bills alive, that seems plausible to alter this year.
New York sports betting, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the usual legislative suspects pursuing opposing initiatives, could finally extend and include mobile operators as well.
At the federal level, Canada’s sports betting is only limited to parlays. However, C-218 is likely to repeal that, and establish in Canada a much more robust sports betting environment.