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Legal Vermont Sports Betting Takes First Step With Introduced Bill

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Jan 31, 2023 · 9:10 AM PST

Ben Shungu dribbling
Vermont guard Ben Shungu (24) drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Maryland, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)
  • Vermont Representative introduced a bill to legalize online sports betting
  • Up to six online sports betting licenses would be approved
  • Department of Liquor and Lottery would regulate sports betting

Vermont sports betting took a big step towards becoming a reality in 2023, as a state legislator introduced a bill to legalize online sports betting in the Green Mountain State.

Rep. Matthew Birong (D-3) introduced a bill to legalize Vermont online sports betting and allow the state’s Department of Liquor and Lottery to operate the venture.

The bill was introduced about two months after a study committee recommended Vermont legalize sports betting in the 2023 legislative session

Up to Six Online Operators

Birong’s bill, H.127, will authorize at a minimum two online sports betting licenses and a maximum of six licenses if approved by the state legislatures. Each license will carry an annual fee of $275,000 for an operator.

Under the bill, only online sports betting would be legalized in the state, and no in-person betting would be included.

The state’s Department of Liquor and Lottery will regulate sports betting and award licenses. Interested operators will have to go through a “competitive bidding process” to receive a license. Much like New York’s competitive bidding process, operators will have to submit bid packages to the department that include a proposed online sports betting tax rate they would be willing to pay to operate in the state.

Other mandated information in a bid package is an estimate of the applicant’s potential gross sports wagering revenue, the number of individually-branded websites the operator proposes for sports betting operations, a responsible gaming plan, and a plan for maximizing sustainable, long-term revenue for the state through a detailed market analysis.

Collegiate sports betting will be allowed in the bill, unless it includes an event in which a participant is a college team or institution that is located in Vermont.

Study Committee Recommends Vermont Sports Betting

A study committee formed to evaluate sports betting’s impact on the Green Mountain State completed its findings and formally recommended Vermont legalize sports betting in 2023 legislative session. The 2022 Sports Betting Study Committee, a nine-member group, met in the fall to begin its deliberations and formally submitted its report in early December.

The committee unanimously agreed that Vermont would be “best served by legalizing sports wagering” and should established a state-controlled market. The committee recommended that Vermont adopt a sports betting program similar to New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, where the state would select sports betting operators through a “competitive bidding process.”

The committee did not recommend that Vermont offer its own sports wagering platform through the state lottery, noting that state’s which have adopted such a strategy suffer from “slow implementation, lower customer engagement, and lower revenue generation.”

It was recommended that the Department of Liquor and Lottery control the state’s sports betting program and offer exclusive contracts to sports betting operators, as there is no other regulated gaming in the state. The committee did find that Vermont residents are already engaging in sports betting through unregulated means and a regulated market would offer protections and services to potential problem gamers that are not currently available.

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