Governor Chris Sununu is expected to sign off on a New Hampshire sports betting bill that is currently on his desk. Once signed, New Hampshire will become the 14th state to join Nevada as a legal sports betting jurisdictions.
The state House of Representatives approved the New Hampshire sports betting bill last week. In a meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee held on June 12, state representative and chairwoman Susan Almy (D-11) signed off on House Bill 480 by approving three amendments made one day earlier in the Senate.
After the House initially voted to pass HB-480 in March, the Senate Ways and Means Committee added language clarifying that multiple online / mobile operators will be allowed to set up shop in the Granite State. Two other amendments, meanwhile, capped the number of online / mobile operators at five, and the number of brick and mortar operators at 10. State senators also adjusted the implementation date so the new industry can launch by early next year.
These amendments required confirmation by the House Ways and Means Committee, and then the full House, to become official.
Rather than holding a formal vote, Almy simply surveyed fellow committee members before offering a formal recommendation of approval to the full House one day later. On June 13, the House followed through on Almy’s recommendation via simple voice vote, effectively completing the bill’s legislative journey.
On her decision to avoid further delay through conference committee study, Almy said the amendments were minor enough to merit expediting the process:
“Nobody thought there was anything that they changed that would require us to go to a committee of conference and renegotiate a couple of really small things. They didn’t change much.”
New Hampshire is now set to join the growing list of states to legalize sports betting after a federal ban (outside of Nevada) was repealed in May of 2018. Seven states have launched legal wagering via either retail and/or online mobile bet shops since then, while six others have passed laws that are awaiting implementation.
Sports bettors aged 18 or over will be permitted to wager on professional sports, such as football, basketball and hockey, along with out of state collegiate action. With no full-scale casinos in the state, state representative and HB-480 sponsor Timothy Lang (R-4) told the Concord Monitor that “racinos” like Seabrook Greyhound Park are the best venues to build land-based sportsbooks:
“They’ll seek town approval to offer sports betting there. That’d be the kind of place you can go to sit and watch a game and place a bet.”
In the wake of his bill’s passage, Lang told Legal Sports Report that he has already asked Governor Chris Sununu for an invite to the signing ceremony. Lang’s confidence is based on Sununu’s inclusion of $10 million in sports betting related revenue within the state’s budget.
Back in February, Sununu specifically cited regulated sports betting as a top legislative and economic priority:
“This budget increases our education revenue streams by legalizing sports betting, which will bring in an additional $10 million in annual revenue beginning in fiscal year 2021. Given our new opportunities to legalize sports betting in a responsible and reliable way, and capture more revenue for our education system, I say we go all in and get it done!”
In his interview with Legal Sports Report, Lang celebrated passage of the New Hampshire sports betting bill as a successful return on Sununu’s all-in speech:
“I look at it as three groups are winning. The citizens are winning in that they will now be able to place a bet and have consumer protections behind it, businesses are winning because they’ll have the opportunity to grow, and lastly the State of New Hampshire is winning because it gets revenue that will go toward education.”