Vermont Senate passes sports betting bill
House Bill 127 will now head back to the state House for confirmation.
US.- House Bill 127, which will legalise online sports betting in Vermont, has passed its third reading in the state Senate after suffering a series of amendments to the House-passed version. The legislation will now head back to the House for confirmation before moving forward to governor Phil Scott, who has indicated that he will sign the bill.
House Bill 127 was filed by representative Matthew Birong and nine other House members. Betting would be regulated by the Department of Liquor and Lottery, which would grant a minimum of two and maximum of six online sports betting licences. There is no brick-and-mortar sportsbook element in the bill.
The Senate made a number of amendments to the House-passed version of the proposed law, including an additional licence fee on top of the 20 per cent gross gaming tax. When HB127 arrived in committee, the legislation proposed that a single operator would pay $550,000 a year, two operators $412,500 each, three $366,666, four $343,750, five $330,000 and six $320,833. Senators considered other fee structures before settling on an upfront payment of $550,000, which would cover the cost of regulating the industry.
It will be up to the Department of Liquor and Lottery to negotiate with an operator the length of their contract and when it would have to pay the $550,000 again. The amendment says bookmakers will not be charged more than once in any three-year period.
The Senate committee included a provision that prohibits sportsbooks from advertising during events that are primarily intended for people under the age of 21. Sportsbooks must also submit annual marketing strategies to the state to demonstrate how the operator plans to prevent its advertising materials from reaching minors.
The Senate committee also incorporated provisions requiring sportsbooks to promote responsible gaming and resources for those who need help in curbing their play. Finally, the Senate committee included a directive that the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery, which would regulate expanded gaming if HB 127 becomes law, use 5 per cent of the sports betting receipts it receives for a new problem gambling fund.
According to a regulatory schedule laid out in the bill, residents of the State will be able to access online offerings by January 2024.