On Monday, anyone over the age of 21 who is in the Granite State could legally place an online bet on a professional sporting event, if the technology was in place for that to happen.
As it turns out, sports betting becomes legal but the app that will let gamblers place a bet via DraftKings won’t be up and running until January or February, according to Gov. Chris Sununu.
Sports betting became legal at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island, in November 2018, and that state launched its mobile betting application in September, so New Hampshire’s move makes it the second New England state to go that route.
Betting on sports also is legal in Delaware, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Gov. Charlie Baker filed a bill early this year to allow online sports betting, but the measure seems to be stuck at midfield. The Boston Herald reported one concern is whether to allow betting on college sports – not just the pros. Lawmakers have said the bill will be discussed again in the spring when, presumably, bettors in New Hampshire will be eagerly placing bets, and the state of New Hampshire will be counting its new revenue. The N.H. Lottery Commission approved a six-year contract with DraftKings that will have the company paying the state 51% of gross gaming revenue for mobile bets and 50% from any retail locations that are approved.
Massachusetts, a state with two operating casinos and a slots parlor, is behind the curve when it comes to legal online sports betting.
The Herald cited officials in Baker’s administration saying the governor’s sports betting bill would generate about $35 million in annual revenue, with the money going toward local aid. The bill would mandate a tax on sports bets made online and at the three casinos.
Revenue from legal sports betting seems like a sure bet for Massachusetts. The Legislature should get serious, define the rules and pass a law to allow it so the state captures revenue that can too easily go elsewhere.