Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed his state’s legislatively-approved mobile sports betting bill into law today, Wednesday, June 14, 2023.
That makes two states see their governors enact sports betting bills on Wednesday. Gov. Roy Cooper signed North Carolina state’s mobile sports wagering bill into law today, too.
Scott’s office received the legislation (H.127) last Thursday from the Vermont House of Representatives following final passage of the bill on May 9. Delivery of the bill to the governor gave Scott five days, excluding Sundays, to sign the bill into law, let it become law without his signature, or return it to the state legislature.
Vermont’s sports betting law is effective immediately upon the governor’s signature.
The mobile sports betting bill has been a priority for Scott’s administration this year, according to his state lottery chief Wendy Knight. The state anticipates launching no later than Jan. 1, 2024 under the legislation.
Two to Six Mobile Sportsbooks on the Way to Vermont
Knight – who is commissioner of the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery (DLL) – told lawmakers back in April that Scott’s administration is committed to launching legal sports betting in Vermont as soon as possible.
“Time is critical with the sports wagering bill,” Knight wrote in a letter to state lawmakers last spring. “I know the Committee shares the Administration’s commitment to legalizing — at long last — sports wagering in Vermont.”
Under H. 127, Vermont will launch between two and six mobile sportsbooks following a competitive bidding process led by DLL. The bid process is expected to begin when DLL issues a request for proposals around July 1. Regulatory action and licensing will follow.
Safe, Competitive Sports Betting Market for Vermont
Vermont mobile sports betting will be operated by independent sportsbooks, with potential operators including FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Caesars. The state lottery will regulate sports betting, but there will be no lottery sportsbook app.
Knight told Gaming Today in early May that Vermont plans to keep its new market competitive, but small.
“That was something that was fairly clear in the sports betting study committee (which did its work last year). We wanted to have at least two operators and no more than six, given the fact that Vermont is such a small market,” she said.
Most of all, Knight said, Vermont will have a safe, regulated sports betting market she hopes will keep bettors in-state instead of losing them to neighboring New Hampshire and Massachusetts – or illegal offshore sites.
“We want to make sure that we’re looking at how we move from illegal activity to regulated activity. And part of that is making the program attractive for operators as well as players, and making it competitive and safe,” Knight added.
Vermont is the last state in New England to legalize sports betting. Massachusetts was the other holdout until it legalized retail and mobile in 2022.