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New Hampshire legislature passes sports betting bill


A bill to regulate sports betting in New Hampshire is headed to the Governor Chris Sununu after the state’s House of Representatives concurred with the amended bill returned by the Senate. 

House Bill 480, filed in January by Representative Timothy Lang, was passed by the House in March, and was then approved by the Senate in May. 

However, due to a number of amendments made in the upper chamber of the New Hampshire legislature, it had to be returned to the House for Representatives to approve the tweaks before it was transferred to Governor Sununu. 

The Senate amended the legislation to cap the number of mobile betting operators at five, and to set a limit on ten retail sportsbooks from operating at any time. Mobile and retail partners will be selected by the state Lottery Commission through a tender process.

The Senate Finance Committee added a change which effectively states that mobile wagering must be powered by New Hampshire-based servers, stating that bets must be initiated and received within state borders. 

It did, however, add that “incidental intermediate routing” of bets would not determine the locations of where a wager is initiated. This suggests that data from a bet placed in New Hampshire which crosses state borders (for example, to a datacenter in another state) would be considered to have been contained in New Hampshire provided it was placed and settled in the state.

Another amendment was made by Representative Richard Ames in the House, giving the New Hampshire Lottery Commission the right to set daily, weekly and monthly spending limits for players, as well as launching a self-exclusion system for players.

The bill also establishes the Division of Sports Wagering, a unit within the New Hampshire Lottery Commission which will be handed oversight of the sector, including selecting the state’s sports betting vendors. 

The Council for Responsible Gambling, a five-person body comprising experts in addiction or mental health services will be formed to promote education, prevention, and treatment of problem gambling in the state.

Should the bill be signed into law by Governor Sununu, a request for proposal (RFP) will be launched to select the state’s sports betting vendor. It estimates that partners could be selected by January 1, 2020, with a view to launching the market by July 1. 

These partners would enter into revenue sharing agreements to ensure the state sees a return from legal wagering. Based on an average industry hold of 5%, the bill estimates the state could raise $11.3m from stakes of $225.0m in its 2021 financial year, rising to $11.8m, then $12.5m by FY2023.