Vermont Sports Betting Projection Boosted As Tourism Drives Strong Start

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Vermont sports betting

Vermont sports betting regulators upgraded their initial fiscal projections because of tourists boosting January financials.

The first VT sports betting report showed out-of-state bettors made up 40% of the 52,431 active users in January. The average bet size for those visiting the Green Mountain State was over $37, more than double the $18 average for in-state residents.

“That was not something we anticipated,” Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery commissioner Wendy Knight told LSR about the percentage of out-of-state bettors. “The timing helped because we launched during the NFL playoff season. But, (tourists) were really driving the activity. People all around New England like to come to Vermont during ski season, and I think that was reflected in the stats we saw for January.”

Pent-up demand for VT sports betting

Vermont sports betting handle eclipsed $19.9 million in its first 20 days. Tourists accounted for $7.1 million, or 36%, of total volume.

With Vermont being the last state in New England to legalize sports betting, Knight said many Vermonters already had online accounts they would use in other states. Combining that with tourists from New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts, for example, being able to bet in Vermont, it provided a positive first few weeks of activity.

“We are seeing a really strong start to sports betting in Vermont,” Knight said. “The first weekend we launched, in Killington, which has the ski resort, had the third highest activity for sports wagering on (Martin Luther King, Jr.) weekend, and less than 4% of those were new users. So these were existing Vermonters and players from out of state that could now play legally here.”

Heatmaps show popular sports betting spots

Total betting volume over the holiday weekend hit $6.7 million statewide. The most active locations were Burlington and Burlington South, two population centers. Ski towns were five of the top 10 hot spots during the first week of VT sports betting:

GeoComply heat maps show the popular tourist destinations provided plenty of action on Vermont sports betting apps.

Seasonal tourism could drive additional revenue

Fall is the most popular time of year for visitors to Vermont, while spring is typically the slowest, according to Knight.

However, Vermont will be a popular spot to see the total solar eclipse on April 8. Knight told LSR the state is expecting a massive influx of visitors that day, which could lead to more sports betting activity in what would typically be a slower time of year.

“The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing is doing a big promotion around (the total solar eclipse),” she said. “This is a big deal, and many hotels are already booked. I will be interested to see if those tourists also engage in online sports wagering. We will be monitoring this out-of-state activity throughout the year.”

Early Vermont sports betting revenue

The three licensed VT sports betting apps are:

The trio combined for $3.6 million in January revenue. They sent $1.1 million back to Vermont in monthly sports betting taxes.

Revising initial projections

The early returns are already ahead of projections, leading regulators to revise their initial fiscal outlook.

“We revised our fiscal year 2024 to be $3 million,” Knight said. “What we saw with wagering activity in January, we’re certainly well on track to meet that. If we’ve made almost $1.2 million in the first three weeks, which is what we projected for the first six months, we’re going to do quite well.”

The Vermont fiscal year ends on June 30. Regulators expect sports betting to generate upwards of $8 million in tax revenue through the first 12 months.