Vermont gambling laws support lottery betting and a wide variety of charitable gambling types. At the same time, Vermont does not have land-based casinos or pari-mutuel racetracks. The Green Mountain State also does not have sports betting, online poker, and online casinos. While unregulated online gambling takes place, the state government has no interest in legalizing, regulating, and taxing such activities.
The leaders of Vermont do not appear interested in legal sports betting. Gov. Phil Scott said he was open-minded to sports betting, but it would not solve the state’s fiscal issues. The Vermont Lottery’s director said he knew of no lawmakers who were backing sports betting legalization. Online gambling legislation is less likely to pass the Vermont legislature, though the government has explored online lottery ticket sales in the recent past (2012).
Vermont has a wide definition of gambling, but relatively light punishments for individuals caught illegally gambling. Like most states, the punishments escalate significantly for the operators or organizers of illegal gambling events. Even being an employee for an illegal gambling operation is a significant violation, so don’t work for illegal poker rooms assuming the owner is assuming most of the risk.
Relevant State Code: Chapter 51: Sections 2101, 2133, 2141, 2143, 2151
Gambling is defined as a lottery, raffle, or game of chance “played for money or property.” Another part of Section 2101 describes gambling as “hazard at any game.”
A person who wins or loses money or other valuable thing by play or hazard at any game, or by betting on such play or hazard, or sharing in a stake wagered by others on such play or hazard, shall be fined not more than $200.00 nor less than $10.00.
The term “play or hazard at any game” is a broad definition of gambling. The fine for such gaming is between $10 and $200, so it’s the equivalent of a traffic ticket.
Punishments for Illegal Gambling: “A person who wins or loses money or other valuable thing by play or hazard at any game, or by betting on such play or hazard, or sharing in a stake wagered by others on such play or hazard, shall be fined not more than $200.00 nor less than $10.00.”
Though Vermont has fairly strict rules for what it considers illegal gambling, the punishments for those who operate illegal gambling rings are not that great. Those charges with illegal gambling face a fine of up to $200 and a jail sentence of no more than 60 days. While a 2-month incarceration would not be pleasant, it pales in comparison to the sentences one might face in other states for the same crime.
A person who plays at cards, dice, tables, or other game for money or other valuable in a common gaming or gambling house that is maintained for lucre and gain, shall be fined not more than $200.00 or imprisoned not more than 60 days, or both.
In 2012, the Vermont legislature authorized the lottery commission to explore online ticket sales in the somewhat humorously-named “Big Bill”. Online lottery ticket sales were never adopted, though nearby New Hampshire passed such a law in 2017. Of course, that might have been wise, as the New Hampshire State Lottery now is suing the U.S. Department of Justice to challenge its interpretation that interstate online gambling — including online lottery sales — are a violation of federal law.
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, a nonprofit organization, as defined in 31 V.S.A. § 1201(5), may organize and execute, and an individual may participate in lotteries, raffles, or other games of chance for the purpose of raising funds to be used in charitable, religious, educational, and civic undertakings or used by fraternal organizations to provide direct support to charitable, religious, educational, or civic undertakings with which they are affiliated. Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, gambling machines and other mechanical devices described in section 2135 of this title shall not be utilized under authority of this section.
Vermont allows lotteries and raffles for charitable organization to raise funds. Religious, educational, or civic organization can apply for a charitable gaming license. Fraternal organizations associated with charitable, religious, educational, or civic causes also can hold charity fundraisers involving gambling.
(a) Except as provided under 31 V.S.A. chapter 13, a person shall not
(1) engage in bookmaking or pool selling, except deer pools or other pools in which all of the monies paid by the participants, as an entry fee or otherwise, are paid out to either the winning participants based on the result of the pool or to a nonprofit organization or event as described in 32 V.S.A. § 10201(5) where the funds are to be used as described in that subdivision, or both;
(2) keep or occupy, for any period of time, any place or enclosure of any kind, with any material for recording any wager, or any purported wager, or selling pools, except as provided in subdivision (1) of this subsection, upon the result of any contest, lot, chance, unknown or contingent event, whether actual or purported;
(3) receive, hold, or forward, or purport or pretend to receive, hold, or forward, in any manner, any money, thing, or consideration of value, or the equivalent or memorandum thereof, wagered, or to be wagered, or offered for the purpose of being wagered, upon such result;
(4) record or register, at any time or place, any wager upon such result;
(5) permit any place or enclosure that the person owns, leases, or occupies to be used or occupied for any purpose or in any manner prohibited by subdivision (1), (2), (3), or (4) of this section;
Vermont strictly forbids bookmaking, so sports betting operators beware. Pool selling, deer pools, and other type of pool betting is strictly forbidden. Bookies in Vermont face stiff sentences, while anyone affiliated with the bookmaker could face punishment.
Even certain forms of stock trading were banned, because they were seen by the legislature in earlier generations as a form of gambling. Two sets of 2131 laws were repealed, one in 1961 and one in 1978. The 1961 repeal involved “bucket shops” under the stock trading statutes, in which a company kept a kind of stock, bond, or commodity that was sold to investors on margins.
Because it was margin-trading, the state viewed bucket shops as a form of gambling. The bucket shop described the practice as “the pretended buying or selling of stock or bonds of a corporation, or petroleum, cotton, grain, provisions, pork, or other produce, either on margins or otherwise.” The 1978 repeal involved more basic definitions of wagering and gambling under the Vermont gambling and lotteries law.
Vermont Gambling Laws
Vermont Online Poker Laws
Vermont does not have online poker laws. Since Vermont doesn’t have land-based casinos, it is no surprise that the Green Mountain State has not legalized online casinos and poker sites. Vermont doesn’t license, tax, or regulate online gambling, but it also does not prosecute real money players who bet on offshore online casinos and cardrooms. While it is no indication that Vermont will never charge people for online gambling, no resident has ever been prosecuted for engaging in online gambling.
While Vermont doesn’t have laws that ban online poker or casino sites by name, some of its widely-defined illegal gambling laws could be used to prosecute an online gambling operator in the state. If a person launched their own Vermont-based online casino or card site, they would be charged and prosecuted for illegal gambling.
No. Vermont does not have a sports betting legalization act. Since the US Supreme Court voted 6-3 to repeal the PASPA federal ban on sports betting, no Vermont lawmaker has introduced a bill to legalize sports betting in the state. With no land-based casinos to host a sportsbook, it is unlikely the state will legalize sports betting anytime soon.
When asked about legalizing sports betting in May 2018, Gov. Phil Scott said, “That’s not the answer to Vermont’s fiscal issues, but I’m willing to listen.”
Danny Rachek, the Vermont Lottery’s executive director, was even less welcoming to the idea. Rachek told the Burlington Free Press, “I don’t know of anybody who is pushing for this [sports betting] in Vermont.”
At the same time, all the major daily fantasy sports operators accept real money players from Vermont. FanDuel, DraftKings, and Fantasy Draft all operate inside Vermont, which acts as an unregulated daily fantasy sports jurisdiction. State officials seem to have no interest in either regulating or prosecuting the daily fantasy sports industry. Readers can extrapolate from the DFS industry in Vermont the state’s attitude to most other forms of online gaming.
No. Vermont does not have land-based casinos. As the 49th state in terms of population size, Vermont does not have the population density to support brick-and-mortar casinos. Vermont does draw tourism to its ski slopes in the winter months, but tourism is too seasonal to support a casino industry. In an increasingly saturated, fragmented US casino industry, states with large cities nearby are the ones which can support land-based casinos. Casino night businesses exist, which is the closest thing to casino gaming you’ll find.
No. Vermont does not have any legal betting tracks. Those who enjoy pari-mutuel wagering must travel into New York state to visit Tioga Downs, Aqueduct Raceway, or Yonkers Raceway.
No. Vermont does not have simulcasting or off-track betting facilities. No OTB facilities exist in Vermont.
Yes. Vermont’s charitable gambling laws first were enacted in 1973 and 1974. Major updates occurred in 1993, 2009, 2015, and 2017. Vermont allows charitable gambling for religious, civic, educational, or charity purposes. Fraternal organizations which raise money for religious, civic, educational, or charity organizations also quality as licensed charitable gambling organizations. Raffles, lotteries, and other “games of chance” are allowed. Bingo can be used for charity fundraisers.
“Casino events” are allowed, but have a lot of prohibitions. Vermont statute 2143. Section (4) states: “A ‘casino event’ shall not include a fair, bazaar, field days, agricultural exposition, or similar event that utilizes a wheel of fortune, chuck-a-luck, or other such games commonly conducted at such events, or break-open tickets, bingo, a lottery, or a raffle.”
|City||Name Of Casino||Address||Phone Number||Details|
|Colchester||Broadacres Bingo||133 Broadacres Drive, Colchester, Vermont 05446||(802) 860-1510||N/A|
|Essex Junction||Majestic Bingo||20 Susie Wilson Road, Suite 7, Essex Junction, Vermont 05452-2827||(802) 878-9447||80 Bingo Seats|
Yes, under certain restrictions. Casino events are a common form of social gaming which is allowed, but lotteries, raffles, bingo, and “break-open tickets” are not allowed. Break-open tickets would be what are called pull-tab games or pickle games in other states. Poker and blackjack appear to be legal at casino nights, but roulette would be banned due to the term “wheel of fortune”.
For those looking to hold a social gaming event, here is an example of a casino night event planner operating out of Waitsfield, Vermont – a town of 1,719 people which is 20 miles from the state capital of Montpelier and 41 miles from the largest city, Burlington.
|City||Name Of Casino||Address||Phone Number||Details|
|Waitsfield||Alpine Amusement||903 North Road, Waitsfield, Vermont 05663||(802) 496-4498||N/A|
Vermont allows online social gaming casinos which have free-play games. Double Down Casino, Slotomania, Zynga, and Big Fish Games are legal, so long as players do not risk money on the sites. Free-to-play online casino sites like MGM Resorts’ MyVegas and Mohegan Sun’s Play4Fun are legal. Each provides value to online players from Vermont.
PlayMGM gives real life rewards for free play, so a Vermont online gamer could use the PlayMGM rewards at MGM Springfield in Western Massachusetts. Play4Fun does not offer comps, but players sign up for a Mohegan Sun newsletter and receive promotional updates for Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania.