• Rhode Island has legalized land-based and online sports betting.
  • Connecticut tribal casinos are preemptively accepting sportsbook operators.
  • Maine and New Hampshire have ramped up legalization efforts as of late.

BOSTON – With the expectation set for legal sports betting in New England to make a large push into the market, the results have not been as anticipated.

We have seen expansion and advancement from Rhode Island, who already had legal sports betting and recently authorized the ability to mobile wager on sporting events. Governor Raimondo signed the bill into law at the end of March, and the platform is expected to launch in the fall.

However, in the other New England states, legalization or expansion has not taken off into any more than just discussions.

Massachusetts

As one of the most pro-gambling states in the nation, we expected Massachusetts to slide right into the market.

The state had filed upwards of two dozen bills regarding the industry, but no action has been taken since late January.

DraftKings just created their headquarters in Boston and Governor Baker hopes this move will give legislators the extra incentive they may need.

Baker himself filed a bill that would permit sports wagering in casinos and also online without any casino backing. This would be the first of this kind, should it make any headway.

The Massachusetts legislative session does not have an adjournment date, as the Legislature meets throughout the year.

Connecticut

The sports betting scene in Connecticut is shaping up positively but internal battles have hindered any advancement.

The committees have held several public hearings on the matter, but the main focus seems to look at tribal casino exclusivity.

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes hold the ability to solely operate Class III gaming in the state; however, no legislator, resident, tribal member, or elected official can come to an agreement on the definition of sports wagering.

If it considered a Class III game, the tribes would hold the exclusivity to offer sportsbooks, while commercial casinos and the state lottery are hoping for the opposite so they can dip their toes in the market.

The tribes have threatened to discontinue paying the state their share of tax benefits from slot machine revenue should an unfavorable ruling remove their power.

The Mohegan Sun has already prepared for their right to offer sports wagering and has paired with Kambi Group to operate their sportsbook.

The Connecticut legislative session adjourns on June 5.

Maine

Replacing their placeholder bill with an actual measure in late March, Maine brought forth the efforts to legalize the industry.

Though early in the process, the bill would permit wagering at tribal casinos, racing tracks, off-site betting facilities, and through an online platform.

It would allow those 21 and older to participate while having no restrictions on collegiate or professional wagering. Only high school athletics would be prohibited from being wagered on.

Sitting in the Veteran and Legal Affairs Committee, LD1348 would have the state receive 25% of the sports betting revenue, which is allocated mainly towards essential programs and services for students K-12.

The Maine legislative session adjourns on June 19.

New Hampshire

Considered to be one of the expected states to not look into legal sports betting, New Hampshire has progressed the idea of expanding gambling rather well as of late.

An expansion on casino gambling was heard last week in committee, but the focus on permitting sports betting is scheduled to be heard in the Senate on April 24.

HB480, which has already passed in the House, would permit the lottery to offer sports betting to the residents of the state.

Betting on any professional team is supported; however, collegiate sports betting can only take place on teams that are not located in the state or when the event is not held in the state.

With March Madness in effect, they made sure to detail that prohibited collegiate sporting events do not include NCAA tournaments where a New Hampshire team is playing or that is being hosted in the state.

Those who are 18 would be allowed to participate and the players would not have to sign up in person to get started.

New Hampshire’s legislative session ends in late June.

Vermont

Possibly the state with the least action in the New England Region, Vermont has seen three bills enter into the legislative process. All of them have been referred to their respective committees after being read in their chamber, yet none of them have held any discussion.

Being introduced over a month ago, HB484 allows those with sports betting licenses to also apply for a sports wagering lounge permit, which reflect the same odds that would be offered online.

Licensing fees are set at $100,000 for the initial application while renewing it costs just a quarter of that. For those who wish to operate a sportsbook lounge, they must also purchase the permit for $5,000.

The measure would allow those 21 and older to participate and collects taxes based on a sliding scale of the operator’s revenue.

The Vermont Legislature adjourns in the middle of May.

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