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Sports betting in New Hampshire
New Hampshire has always been a conservative state in online gambling and sports betting matters; a fact evidenced by her proscriptive laws. However, following the repeal of the federal proscription by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on May 2018, the state has joined in the scramble for the pie that legalised sports betting has to offer. The effort to legalise sports betting in New Hampshire are further boosted by the tax potential of legal online gaming.
More noteworthy, the granite state seems to be the only player in the New England region that has put focussed effort to legalise sports betting. Massachusetts and Connecticut have hitherto failed to legalise online gaming and sports betting. On her part, New Hampshire is about to complete the race, with legalised sports betting being sanctioned by law in July 2019.
Her Governor, Chris Sununu, recently signed H. 480 into law, effectively authorising sports betting in the state. The H. 480 saw the granite state become the sixth state to legalise sports betting this year. The betting may be done both at the land casinos as well as on mobile platforms. The new act provides for the establishment of the Division of Sports Wagering within the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.
The legal gambling age in the state is 18 years. A player can register remotely, but live betting can only be offered online. The state is expected to issue up to 15 licenses – 5 retail and 10 for an online sportsbook.
Gaming is a novelty in the granite state. In this article, we take a look at the history of gaming in the state, with a view to see what its future holds.
Gambling laws of New Hampshire.
Interestingly, despite her conservative history, New Hampshire was the first state to sanction the modern lottery as we know it. It was also the first state to adopt charity betting and while at it, host poker competitions for entertainment at the racecourse.
In 1933, Pari-mutuel betting in the form of greyhound betting and horse races was legalized in the state. The two thrived for a while until 2013 when live betting started taking over.
Under the New Hampshire Charitable betting regulations racecourses can now allow punters to enjoy poker and other games. However, the sponsors and operators of such establishments must contribute part of the proceeds to charity. The venues are allowed to provide blackjack games, poker competitions, electronic betting machines similar to bingo and keno.
Unlike its neighboring states such as Connecticut and Rhode Island that host a repertoire of well developed land-based casinos, New Hampshire is yet to establish herself in this regard. Given this acute lack of gambling infrastructure, the granite state has quite some ground to cover if at all it is to make casino and sports betting within its borders a reality.
The good news is that its future is bright. Because of the potential offered by online and mobile gaming, New Hampshire has its eyes set on becoming the epicentre that attracts not only its locals, but also residents of neighboring states and even the entire Mid- West area to its gaming district. In New Hampshire, a bright future awaits its online casino and sports betting afficionados.
The legal perspectives on gambling in New Hampshire
The following forms of gambling have been allowed in New Hampshire:
Following the deterioration of pari-mutuel betting in 2013, greyhound and live race betting were eventually formally done away with despite being provided for under statute. Regardless, a gamer may still engage in charity betting which is available at select racecourses via broadcast. In July 2019, the state legalized sports betting with massive plans to legalize mobile betting as well. The fiscal note attached to the S 140 bill projects an annual income of $11.25 million in state revenue from legal sports betting. The state legal sports betting is set to launch on January 1 2020. Licenses will be issued through competitive bidding, with the priority being to target those operator that promise to earn the state the maximum returns.
Due to the lack of gambling infrastructure, the state enables select betting on racecourses. The racecourses in New Hampshire serve as a substitute for traditional tribal casinos or modern-day physical casinos, but they lack the completeness punters would expect in a good casino. Gamblers who wish to have the ambience of a true physical casino, must travel to surrounding states which happen to have the infrastructure.
Online Casino Sites
Although online casino gaming is yet to be expressly licensed by the state under the New Hampshire laws, we can hope that the state senate shall pass such regulations by the year 2020
Live and Online Poker
Though legal, live online poker is however limited to select bingo halls and racetracks which offer charitable betting. The charitable betting regulations imposed this restriction. Even so, no prosecutions or arrests have been done for non-compliance with this regulation. As regards online poker, things seem promising, because even though the 2014 bill seeking to sanction online poker was shut down at the state assembly, legislators have renewed their efforts to have it passed and the proscriptions against online poker lifted. The increased changes and the legal liberalism on matters gambling further bolsters this increased optimism.
Lottery and Bingo
Due to the charity gambling laws introduced in New England by New Hampshire, various state games were unveiled, including charity raffle and bingo.
New Hampshire’s Gambling Statistics
|No. of Commercial Gambling Facilities:||Age Requirements||Casino Regulatory Body:||Lottery National Rankings:||Approx. Annual Gambling Revenue||Approx. Annual Gambling Taxes:|
|There are no physical racinos/casinos||Minimum of 18 years for lottery and bingo and 21 years for racing and poker||NH Lottery Commission – Division of Sports Wagering||35th||$288 million||$77 million|
|However, 15 licenses (10 online, five retail) will be available when the bidding starts in 2020|
The current establishment of gambling infrastructure in neighboring states such as Massachusetts; did not go unnoticed by the granite state legislators. The state is not only determined to get a pie of the gambling revenue, but also to become the epicenter of legal sports betting.
The recent agitation for change in the state assembly will likely bring even more dramatic changes to NH gambling legislation. The residents already feel the looming action. Overall, the excitement within New Hampshire’s gambling circles is palpable, especially amongst its sports fans, who eagerly await the sanctioning and issuance of casino license by 2020. Pundits anticipate the industry giants such as DraftKings, Caesars, FanDuel and William Hill shall be among the first beneficiaries of such permits.
We endeavor to keep you posted on all the developments in this regard.