Many states have legalized sports betting, but New Hampshire is one of the few that has not. The tide may be turning. Currently, there is no firm timetable as to when New Hampshire may finally allow sports betting, but there are signs that the tide may be changing.
New Hampshire Public Opinion
According to a 2018 poll conducted by Change Research and commissioned by the NH Business Council, 64% of New Hampshire residents support the legalization of sports betting. Moreover, 82% of respondents said that they would use sports betting if it were legalized. Another positive sign for those interested in placing a wager on the horses is that 55% of those polled said they would use an offshore betting website rather than an onshore one. The poll also found that 47% of New Hampshire residents believe legal sports betting will lead to more corruption in sports, while 18% said it will lead to less corruption.
New Hampshire Legislative Action
Although there was never any formal legislation introduced that would have legalised sports betting in New Hampshire, there is a strong possibility that the issue will be addressed soon. Last year, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize sports betting, and several other states have since followed suit.
On January 22, the New Hampshire Senate passed a bill (22-14) that would have made the state the third to legalise sports betting. The bill would have allowed residents to purchase and place bets on sporting events, provided that the wagering occurred within New Hampshire. The bill, similar to the one that passed in Massachusetts, was a compromise that attempted to meet the demands of both the sports and betting communities. The House of Representatives did not vote on the bill in the final session due to procedural roadblocks. Nevertheless, the bill’s passing in the Senate is an encouraging sign that it may be possible to legalize sports betting in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Executive Office Action
Even though there was never any formal action taken by the New Hampshire Executive Office, the possibility of legalising sports betting in the state can be traced back to 2013, when then-Governor Maggie Hassan signed a bill that eased restrictions on interstate gaming. This included online wagering, which was previously restricted to states where sports betting was already legal. Shortly after the bill went into effect, New Hampshire became the first state to create a regulatory framework for legal online sports betting.
The bill allows for regulated online sports betting with some of the strictest protections in the country. It also allows for physical sportsbooks, known as “brick-and-mortar” bookmakers, to remain open. This provides a safe and convenient option for sports betting in New Hampshire, while also allowing for the continuation of the industry. It has not stopped there. In August 2018, the New Hampshire Executive Office released a draft of a proposed gambling law. One of the main provisions of the law would have legalised sports betting for New Hampshire residents. Similar to the Massachusetts law, the proposal would have also allowed for the establishment of remote gambling sites, known as “virtual sportsbooks.”
Why Should New Hampshire Legalise Sports Betting?
Although some may still favour holding a betting line in person at a race track, the growing popularity of online sportsbooks has made it easier for people to place bets from the comfort of their homes. Moreover, since the early 2000s, the growth of fantasy sports, where participants form teams made up of real-life players, has increased the desirability of wagering on sports. In fact, fantasy sports are now a $16 billion industry. The industry continues to grow, as 24/7 sports news channels and social media platforms like twitter provide sports fans with constant news coverage and constant reminders of upcoming games and scores.
Legalising sports betting in New Hampshire would have provided the state with a potentially lucrative revenue stream, as well as a way for residents to enjoy their favourite sporting events. Moreover, the industry would have created a diverse set of jobs, with some estimates suggesting that it could have supported up to 500 jobs. In addition, some industry insiders have suggested that legalising sports betting in New Hampshire could have led to reduced corruption in sports. It is important to note, however, that since Massachusetts and a few other states have already adopted legal sports betting, there is no direct evidence to support this claim.
Will New Hampshire Legalise Sports Betting?
With a significant portion of the population supporting the notion of legalising sports betting in New Hampshire, it is clear that the time is right for a compromise to be reached. Moreover, with several other states pursuing similar legislation, it is reasonable to expect that New Hampshire may soon follow suit. The perfect scenario for those interested in sports betting would be to have offshore sportsbooks where residents can enjoy the thrill of placing a wager while also maintaining their anonymity. In addition to increasing the odds of winning, offshore betting provides a safe and secure option for people who want to place bets while avoiding the possibility of getting caught and prosecuted. In fact, since the establishment of offshore betting websites such as bet365, Unibet, and GGbet, New Hampshire residents have had the opportunity to place wagers on sporting events with the same level of integrity as offshore betting sites. In some cases, New Hampshire residents have even benefited from lower prices as a result of increased competition between offshore websites.
It is likely that New Hampshire will continue to be a “no” for sports betting for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, with the growth of other industries in the state, particularly in regard to online gaming, it is not impossible that one day soon the answer will be “yes.”