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Live Free and Bet: New Hampshire becomes the 6th state to legalize sports betting in 2019

NH lottery and governor

After taking a month for the bill to make its way to his desk, the governor of New Hampshire declared today that all people in his state shall forever “Live Free and Bet!”

Gov. Chris Sununu signed the all-inclusive HB 480 into law Friday morning, legalizing land-based, online, and mobile sports betting in New Hampshire. The General Court passed the bill on June 13 before the session ended.

With today’s bill signing, the Granite State becomes the 6th to legalize a form of sports betting in 2019. Currently, Rhode Island is the only New England state to offer sportsbooks, but others in the region are considering sports betting.

“We can do it with a lot of confidence because it’s being done responsibly, and it’s being done with an organization here at the lottery that just knows what they’re doing,” Sununu said after signing the bill into law. “They know how to get this stuff off the ground.”

The Republican governor and NH Lottery Commission — who will be in charge of the sports betting regulations — celebrated the bill’s signing, as well as $100.7 million in funding for public education from the state lottery, with a dollar sign cake.

While sports betting in New Hampshire will take a while to get up and running — July 1, 2020, is the scheduled target date for launch — Gov. Sununu said he’s enacting the law today on one condition.

“The only rule is, I want to place the first bet.” 

NH sports betting details

The New Hampshire sports betting law is easily one of the fairest that we’ve seen in the US industry.

The NH Lottery Commission will set up a “Division of Sports Wagering” to regulate sportsbooks in the state and set up guidelines for sports betting before launch is expected a year from now.

Here’s a breakdown of the new law:

  • Effective: July 12, 2019
  • Launch: July 1, 2020
  • Minimum sports betting age: 18 years old
  • Allowed:  Land-based, online, and mobile apps statewide
  • Prohibited: Betting on games involving NH colleges
  • In-play betting: Online and mobile-only
  • Governing body: NH Lottery Commission – Division of Sports Wagering
  • Number of licenses allowed: 10 locations
  • Licensing fee: TBD
  • Tax rate: TBD
  • Expected revenue: $11.25M in 2021, $11.75M in 2022, $12.5M in 2023
  • Tax distribution: NH public education

State action so far

With today’s announcement, New Hampshire joins Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, and Tennessee as the state’s that have legalized sports betting this year.

Earlier this month, Arkansas became the 9th state — and the 1st of 2019 — to launch a sportsbook in the country. Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico began offering sports betting last year.

Maine’s governor recently chose not to legalize sports betting, and Colorado voters will have their chance to decide during the Fall elections. 

North Carolina may legalize sports betting for two tribal casinos on Monday since its legislation is currently sitting on the House floor. California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio also have pending bills and could get in on the action this year.

New York and Oregon are expected to launch sportsbooks sometime in 2019 while Washington DC may have sports betting operations up and running either late this year or early next year after the DC Council signed a deal with gaming provider Intralot earlier this week.

In total, roughly half of the United States is expected to offer sportsbooks by the end of the year, resulting from the Supreme Court decision to lift the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018.

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