Multiple bills to legalize sports betting in Vermont failed last year, but their sponsors are back again in 2021.
Lead sponsor Sen. Dick Sears and co-sponsors Sen. Michael Sirotkin, Sen. Christopher Pearson and Sen. Richard Westman filed S 77 last week. The bill would authorize VT sports betting through the lottery and allow up to six mobile sportsbook operators.
Sears and Sirotkin filed a mobile-only betting bill last year but it never received a committee hearing. Sirotkin also sponsored a bill to create a sports betting study committee, though that eventually died after passing the Senate, without a House committee hearing.
S 77 is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.
More details on Vermont sports betting bill
S 77 is 15 pages but doesn’t include a ton of details. The bill calls for the Department of Liquor and Lotteries to figure out a lot of the finer details.
The bill would allow betting through Vermont Lottery retailers for anyone 18 or over. It’s up to the department to decide what kind of bets would be allowed, though.
While the bill caps the maximum mobile sportsbooks at six, there’s no minimum listed.
S 77 also specifically bans betting on Vermont colleges or any college event taking place in Vermont. That would not include a ban on betting on a college tournament that includes VT colleges or part of the events taking place in the state, however.
Taxes and fees not included
It’s not clear what it would cost to get one of those six mobile licenses. S 77 doesn’t include any information or tax rates or license fees.
Sen. Sears referred to an estimated $3 million in annual tax revenue from sports betting in an op-ed with the Brattleboro Reformer. That’s from Gov. Phil Scott‘s fiscal 2022 budget proposal that includes $2.5 million in revenue from sports betting, Sears told LSR.
Vermont could soon be surrounded by legal sports betting
Vermont could very quickly be completed surrounded by jurisdictions with legal sports betting.
Vermont has three border states in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York. It’s also bordered by the Canadian province of Quebec to its north.
Massachusetts is the only one of the four without any legal betting right now. That seems plausible to change this year, though, with multiple MA sports betting bills live.
New York sports betting could finally expand and include mobile operators as well, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the usual legislative suspects pushing competing proposals.
Canada sports betting is currently limited to parlays at the federal level. C-218 is likely to repeal that, though, and create a much more robust sports betting landscape in Canada.