There You Go Again, New Hampshire
Legal Sports Report

Rounding Third And Heading Home, It’s NH Sports Betting

NH sports betting

After returning to third to tag the base, sports betting legislation finally is on the way to home plate in New Hampshire.

The Senate once again voted to approve NH sports betting Thursday, and this time the bill is headed back to the House for one last concurrence.

The Senate approved two amendments to H 480 prior to the vote, to go along with an amendment previously adopted. The changes mean the bill will need to receive concurrence from the House.

Rep. Timothy Lang, the bill’s author, tells Legal Sports Report that he expects H 480 will get concurrence in one of the next two floor sessions in the House, either June 5 or the following week.

What changes Senate made to NH sports betting

The Senate previously approved the Ways and Means Committee‘s “ought to pass with amendment”  recommendation on NH sports betting two weeks ago.

However, rather than send the bill off to the House, the Senate diverted it to the Finance Committee to get a fiscal recommendation to go with the policy approval. Finance added an amendment, and Sen. Bob Giuda made one more on the floor.

It took less than three minutes for all the amendments and the bill to get approval. In sum, key terms of the amendments include:

  • Deleting the singular references to agent and bid under mobile wagering to make it clear that the New Hampshire Lottery Commission may choose multiple online operators.
  • Cap the number of mobile operators permitted at five.
  • Address Wire Act concerns by stipulating that “mobile sports wagers must be initiated and received within the geographic borders of the state of New Hampshire and may not be intentionally routed outside of the state. The incidental intermediate routing of mobile sports wagers shall not determine the location or locations in which such a wager is initiated, received or otherwise made.”
  • Establish that the lottery commission, either independently or through its agent, shall provide “wager limits for daily, weekly and monthly amounts consistent with the best practices in addressing problem gambling” for mobile NH sports wagering.
  • Codify that the commission shall select businesses for sportsbooks “whose bids provide the state with the highest percentage of revenue from the sports wagering activities.”

How New Hampshire sports betting will look

The bill authorizes the lottery commission to conduct NH sports betting directly or through authorized agents via the use of mobile internet devices and retail establishments.

The effective date of the bill is upon its passage.

The legislation would:

  • Allow for remote registration for mobile wagering.
  • Permit in-play wagers only through mobile, and not at retail locations.
  • Prohibit wagering on NH collegiate teams and any collegiate game taking place in the state.
  • Create a Division of Sports Wagering within the NH Lottery Commission to serve as regulator.
  • Not provide an integrity fee to sports leagues or mandate the use of official league data.

The final steps for the legislation

Back in the House, the Ways and Means Committee that previously handled the bill will make the recommendation on concurrence.

Given the mildness of the changes, Lang expects the NH sports betting legislation to receive concurrence. He sent an email to Ways and Means vice chair Richard Ames after Senate passage explaining the amendments, offering his support for the bill as amended and asking for the committee to recommend concurrence.

If the House does not concur with the Senate changes, the bill would go to a conference committee to work out the differences.

Gov. Chris Sununu is expected to sign the bill, as he already included $10 million from sports betting in his state budget.

Matthew Kredell
- Matthew began writing about legislative efforts to regulate online poker in 2007 after UIGEA interfered with his hobby of playing small-stakes online poker while working as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News. Covering the topic for Bluff Magazine, PokerNews and now Online Poker Report, he has interviewed four U.S. Congressmen and 20+ state legislators. His poker writing has been cited by The Atlantic, Politico.com and CNN.com. A freelance writer based in Los Angeles, Matt has written on a variety of topics for Playboy Magazine, Men's Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.
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