Vermont Senate

  • A sports betting study committee bill known as Senate Bill 59 has passed in the Vermont Senate and will move on to the House.
  • A legal sports betting market in the Green Mountain State could generate as much as $10 million in annual revenue.

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont General Assembly held a Senate session on Wednesday where Senate Bill 59 passed in its Third Reading.

The bill – which would legalize a Sports Betting Study Committee to be created – will now move onto the House where it will go through the same process for approvals like that of the Senate.

During the virtual session, amendments to the original VT SB 59 were heard and adopted by members before passing by the majority vote.

The Hearing

The Third Reading of Senate Bill 59 was done through a Zoom session as the Coronavirus Pandemic is still very much a daily reality.

The purpose of VT SB 59 is to allow for a committee of five people with different areas of expertise to go over various aspects of the legal sports betting industry as it pertains to the Green Mountain State.

It is the thought of the General Assembly that they cannot move forward with legalizing a sports betting industry until they fully understand how the market could affect Vermont as a whole.

The five members stipulated within the bill to make up the Committee would be the Attorney General or a designee, the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, the Secretary of State or a designee, the Commissioner of Taxes or a designee, and the Commissioner of Liquor and Lottery or a designee.

The creation of this Committee would begin next month where they will have until December 15 to report the results of their study on sports betting to the state. The Committee will then be disbanded on December 30 as Vermont would no longer require their services.

Senator Ruth Hardy read out the proposed amendments which asked for clarification on whether or not sports betting and the study should be imposed on amateur sports like high school and college sports that occur in the state of Vermont.

While in its original form VT SB 59 touches on this subject, Hardy wanted to be sure the language was clarified as it could later affect the outcome of the study and the status of legal sports betting in Vermont as well as amateur sports in the Green Mountain State.

The second amendment asked that the study take a focus on the potential impacts of various socioeconomic groups that may not be able to afford the impacts that a legal sports betting industry in Vermont could bring.

These amendments were agreed upon after being read and will now be part of Senate Bill 59.

Hardy went on to say that she and many other lawmakers are fully aware that the constituents of Vermont take part in sports betting already with the use of outside sources. But should the state endorse a legal sports betting industry, they first want to be sure they’ve covered all potential issues that such a market could bring, going into the legal gambling on sporting events market with their eyes wide open.

What’s Next For The Bill?

If the findings of the study show that legal sports betting in Vermont would do more harm than good then they may not move forward with legislation in 2021. However, they have also thought to put education and prevention measures in place with the revenue received from a legalized industry.

The amended version of Senate Bill 59 will now move forward to the House after there was only one “No” heard in the Senate vote.

The legalization of this study gets the state that much closer to a legal Vermont sports betting market that shows projections of an estimated revenue as high as $10 million annually.

The Green Mountain State has until June 30 to get VT SB 59 passed through the House and onto Governor Phil Scott’s desk.

In two weeks’ time, sports bettors in Vermont will know where their state stands on sports betting legalization.

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