Vermont’s sports betting bill, HB 127 cleared through its first legislative committee late last week. The bill, read by the House Committee on Government Operations and Military Affairs, voted 9-3 in favor of the bill to send it through to the next stage.
What does the Vermont bill look like?
The sports betting bill will allow a maximum of six online sports betting operators in the state, following recommendations outlined by the economic feasibility study undertaken in Vermont in December of 2022.
Operators would pay $500,000 for a license and then enter a revenue sharing agreement with the state going forward. The revenue sharing agreement is likely to be around 50% in line with other states who operate similar models.
Analysts anticipate a return of approximately $10.6 million a year to the state once the market has matured, climbing from $4.6 million in year one.
The road to legalization is far from over, though, with at least four more committee stops awaiting Vermont sports betting bill HB 127 before a deciding House floor vote.
What’s it like across the border?
Vermont shares borders with Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York in the United States. Additionally, it shares a border with the French speaking Canadian province, Quebec. Gambling legislation in each of the states is more liberal than Vermont with sports betting legal in each.
Vermont is home to just over 647,000 residents, making it one of the least populous states in America. By comparison, New York is the 4th largest by population and the most populous state where sports betting is legalized. With such staggering first year economic figures and return to state recorded due to mobile sports betting in New York, it may assist legislators argument in Vermont with pushing a bill through where prior it has struggled.
New York lawmakers face fresh pressure from commercial operators to legalize NY iGaming. There is already significant opposition from the anti-gambling lobby, and it’d be surprising if it was ushered through without major debate.
Legalized sports betting in Vermont is unlikely to make commercial operators bat a proverbial eyelid given the total addressable market size is tiny compared to other markets which remain off the cards. Texas sports betting legalization is back on the cards for 2023, and commercial operators are optimistic. However, they were also optimistic for California sports betting and Proposition 26 and Proposition 27 which were crushed at the public ballot in November 2022.
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