On Tuesday, Governor Phil Scott of Vermont signed H.313, which among other things, creates a committee to study the issues surrounding legalized sports betting for his state.
Scott, a Republican from Barre, is in his third term as governor of the state, having won re-election in 2020 by 41 percent, the largest margin of victory in more than two decades. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Scott owned a construction business in the private sector before entering the governor’s mansion for his first term in 2016. He has long advocated the benefits of legalized sports betting.
“For years, I have also proposed that Vermont legalize and regulate sports betting, as more than a dozen states have done,” Scott said in a statement issued Tuesday. “We know thousands of Vermonters are already participating in this activity, and the State should take steps to ensure fairness and safety, while also generating new revenue to support enrichment opportunities for our youth, increase affordability of childcare, or support universal access to afterschool programs. This bill includes a study that I hope will lead to action on this initiative next session.”
Scott’s support for legalized sports betting in his state, and his efforts to rally fellow Republicans in favor of it, are seen as an extension of his administration’s commitment to helping Vermont’s economy surge after the pandemic. Vermont’s vaccination rate is the highest in the country at nearly 80 percent, and the state economy is rebounding thanks in part to assistance from the legislature and governor, who recently signed a bill that will allocate $150 million for improvements to broadband. In his 2022 budget proposal, Governor Scott includes a projected $2.5 million in tax revenue from sports betting, according to the Brattleboro Reformer.
Current Status Of Vermont Sports Betting
Earlier in 2021, Vermont State Senators Dick Sears, Michael Sirotkin, Christopher Pearson, and Richard Westman submitted a bill that would authorize the licensing of sports betting. The bill called for sports betting to be regulated through Vermont’s state lottery, and it allowed for up to six mobile sportsbook operators. The bill bans betting on Vermont college teams or any collegiate event hosted in the state. That bill is awaiting a hearing by committee, and has not yet been voted on.
Both New Hampshire and Rhode Island, neighbors to Vermont in the northeast, have legalized sportsbooks and online sports betting. Currently, Vermont has a state lottery, but other than bingo licenses and limited casino nights for charity, gambling is not permitted in the state.