Vermont Legislature

  • Senate Bill 77 in Vermont would legalize sports betting for six mobile sportsbooks and retail lottery locations.
  • Governor Phil Scott has included sports wagering revenue in his 2022 FY budget proposal.
  • No date for a second reading has been scheduled yet for S.77; the Vermont General Assembly adjourns for 2021 on May 28.

MONTPELIER, Vt. The Vermont General Assembly is seeing its first bill for sports betting legalization come to light as one was filed and had its first reading on February 11.

Senate Bill 77 was referred to the Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs where it is awaiting its second reading on the floor.

Vermont has tried countless times in previous sessions to get legal sports wagering up and running through various proposals, including “studies” of the industry to no avail.

S.77 is 15 pages worth of details, omitting tax and fee numbers as those are open for discussion but it’s the hope that including just enough details with the rest of the draft available to suggestions by the Assembly will be helpful in getting a favorable passage of the bill in 2021.

The Details Of S.77

Senate Bill 77 is pretty straightforward in its vision for a sports betting market in Vermont. Gambling on sporting events could take place through the Vermont Lottery and mobile sports wagering platforms with a maximum cap of operators set at six for the latter.

Primary sponsor Senator Dick Sears along with one of the co-sponsors Senator Michael Sirotkin went in together last year on a bill to legalize only one side of the market, the mobile sportsbooks side, within the state.

Their proposal failed to get any real traction in the 2020 session and the same can be said for Sen. Sirotkin’s sports wagering study proposal that died in the Assembly as well after not getting enough consideration.

As for what is written in Senate Bill 77, collegiate sporting matches taking place in Vermont are banned from wagers along with all Vermont colleges and their sports teams having a complete ban on any betting action for their games. The legal age to participate in wagering on sports is set at 18 because that is the age set for playing the lottery.

Lottery retailers could offer sports betting at their businesses with the offerings and bets being made available through the Vermont Lottery. The Department of Liquor and Lotteries will be the regulator of the market and have to come up with rules and regulations as a whole for the landscape of a legal Vermont sports betting market.

The maximum of six mobile sportsbook applications would be in addition to the lottery retail aspect of available sports betting outlets for Vermont.

What’s Next For Vermont

While state collegiate events are prohibited, there is a stipulation that would enable any tournaments that these schools make it to, as in a championship game, will be open for betting. With the application fees and taxes still needing to be discussed, everything in Senate Bill 77 is still open to amendments.

Governor Phil Scott has estimated $2.5 million in annual revenue from a legal sports betting market in Vermont by way of the 2022 VT fiscal budget proposal.

The Vermont Legislature will adjourn for the year on May 28. With legal sports betting included in the Governor’s budget proposal for 2022, there is a good chance that Senate Bill 77 will see passage by the end of the session.

And if not through this bill, there is still enough time in the session for new bills on the subject to be introduced and passed into law, giving Vermont a legal sports wagering market of their own that would launch in 2022.

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