Vermont to Take Another Look at Legal Sports Betting in 2023

Vermont is looking again at legalizing sports betting. The next step is to decide if retail or online sports betting, or both, will be part of the plan for action in 2023. 

At issue are both Vermont’s small population and lack of casinos, which, in this case, means no casinos. 

Traditionally, states with no casinos – Tennessee, for example – have opted to legalize online sports betting. Online betting is far more lucrative than in-person wagering because it allows bettors to wager from anywhere in the state, not just inside casinos. 

Whatever type of sports betting is allowed in Vermont will be decided by the state legislature. Recommendations by the state’s Sports Betting Study Committee (SBSC) this fall will be used to draft a bill for consideration when the legislature meets next year, starting on Jan. 4.

A committee vote on online vs. in-person sports betting is expected at the committee’s meeting on Tuesday.

Last week, the SBSC recommended that lawmakers authorize two to six operators and a tax rate of 20 percent to keep a potential Vermont sports betting market lucrative for sportsbooks. That would create around $6.5 million a year in state revenue in the first five years, FanDuel’s Director of Government Affairs Andrew Winchell was quoted as saying last week by ABC 22-TV.

A Lot Of Operators? Not Necessarily

The SBSC has been working off a sports betting revenue report submitted on Oct. 17 by the state’s Joint Fiscal Office, which advised the SBSC that more operators usually means more betting options. 

But having a large number of operators, such as Caesars Sportsbook or bet365, won’t necessarily help Vermont, the report said. 

“More important is that the operators that do operate in the state are offering competitive lines and promotions as if they were operating in a highly competitive market,” says the report. 

Right now, Vermont is at a serious disadvantage. It is the only state in New England that has yet to legalize sports betting in any form. 

  • New Hampshire launched sports betting through partner DraftKings in early 2020. 
  • Massachusetts is next. The Bay State will launch its retail market in January, followed by online sportsbooks in March.
  • While it’s not a New England state, New York borders Vermont and is now the largest mobile sports betting market in the nation after less than one year in operation. 

Past attempts to pass sports betting in Vermont have failed. The most recent attempt was last May, when draft legislation that would have allowed up to six mobile operators was proposed late in the session. The proposal never advanced. 

The SBSC will continue meeting every Tuesday through Nov. 15. It will make its recommendations for action by both houses of the Vermont General Assembly before the end of the year. 

Photo by Katherine Welles

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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