Legal Sports Report

Sports Betting Lives Free In New Hampshire As Legislature Passes Bill

NH sports betting law 2019

Sports betting legislation received final legislative approval in the New Hampshire House on Thursday as members verbally adopted the recommendation of concurrence offered Wednesday by the Ways and Means Committee.

The vote sends the NH sports betting bill to the governor’s desk, where a signature is expected to turn it into law.

New Hampshire House concurs with Senate changes

The Senate made three amendments to H 480, creating the need for the originating chamber to concur.

The amendments clarified that multiple online sports betting operators are permitted, capping mobile operators at five and reasserting that retail operators are capped at 10.

Rep. Susan Almy, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, had the authority to decide whether the committee concurred with the changes.

On Wednesday, she chose to survey committee members and opted for approval once she realized a consensus of the committee supported the bill. No official vote was taken.

“Nobody thought there was anything that they changed that would require us to go to a committee of conference and renegotiate a couple of really small things,” Almy said. “They didn’t change much.”

Almy stood on the House floor Thursday and gave a short statement discussing what changes the Senate made, and he reported that the committee met and recommends the House concur with the changes.

Legislator could tweak NH sports betting parameters

Lang indicated that he is disappointed that the Senate chose to limit the number of retail locations for NH sports betting. As a self-proclaimed free-market individual, he prefers to see the market manage itself and have as many locations as supported.

He had also hoped that the Senate would reinstate brick-and-mortar in-play wagering, originally removed by the House Ways and Means Committee, stating that it makes no sense that in-play wagering can be done through mobile but not at a tavern.

Lang asserted that he will seek to make changes to the law in the future if needed.

“I’ll take the policy win,” Lang said. “Sports betting will now be legal in New Hampshire, and we can fine-tune it down the road.”

How NH sports betting will look

The bill authorizes the New Hampshire Lottery Commission to conduct 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 will:

  • Create a Division of Sports Wagering within the NH Lottery Commission to serve as regulator.
  • Permit wagering by people 18 years of age or older located in the state.
  • Allow for remote registration for mobile wagering.
  • Prohibit wagering on NH collegiate teams and any collegiate game taking place in the state.
  • Not provide an integrity fee to sports leagues or mandate the use of official league data.

Governor’s signature expected in about a month

Following the legislative passage, H 480 heads to the Enrolled Bills Committee to make sure the bill is clean and without typographical errors when it heads to the governor.

Lang expects the bill to reach Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk in the next three to four weeks. Sununu will then have 10 days to sign the bill. He is certain to do so, having included $10 million from sports betting in his state budget.

Lang told LSR that he already contacted the governor’s office asking to be involved in a ceremonial signing of the legislation. You might say he is proud of the bill.

“I look at it as three groups are winning,” Lang said. “The citizens are winning in that they will now be able to place a bet and have consumer protections behind it, businesses are winning because they’ll have the opportunity to grow, and lastly the State of New Hampshire is winning because it gets revenue that will go toward education.”

Matthew Kredell
- Matthew started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered the NFL, Kobe-Shaq three-peat, Pete Carroll’s USC football teams, USC basketball, pro tennis, Kings hockey and fulfilled his childhood dream of sitting in the Dodgers’ dugout. His reporting on efforts to legalize sports betting began in 2010, when Playboy Magazine flew him to Prague to hang out with online sportsbook pioneer Calvin Ayre and show how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting expansion of regulated sports betting across the country. A USC journalism alum, Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.
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