Having cleared Vermont’s House for approval of the Senate committees, the bill to allow sports betting passed Vermont’s Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday. As Sports Handle reports, the bill sustained certain amendments by Finance Committee to be forwarded to the Senate floor for full consideration and the likely signing into law.
Bill Passes Final Stages:
After being sent from the House on March 24, the bill was approved by the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee on April 13. With Tuesday’s approval of the Finance Committee, the legislation has passed the final stage to await floor consideration and ultimate signing into law by Gov. Phil Scott. Legalized sports betting in Vermont will therefore mark the state as the second sports betting jurisdiction launched in 2023 after Kentucky kicked off legal wagering on March 31.
Mobile Wagering Only:
Vermont, as the last of the New England states to pass the sports betting bill, will only allow mobile betting and no brick-and-mortar sports wagering operations. The proposed bill anticipates a minimum of two wagering platforms and a maximum of six, which will be governed by the Department of Liquor and Lottery.
The bill was considered in the Finance Committee in three sessions as members carefully investigated the associated consumer protection options, as well as responsible gaming concerns and the applicable fees. The committee altered the fee structure and included a section that would allow tax collections on winnings made by bettors with non-Vermont residences.
Considerations and Concerns:
Another important bill amendment was the lawmakers’ designation of a $550,000 fee for wagering operators to run online sportsbooks and cover the annual regulatory costs of the state. The license would be valid for three years and available for renewal.
Tuesday’s committee hearing featured a discussion with Wendy Knight from Liquor and Lottery, who wanted to make sure that platforms would not encourage people to wager and that the regulator would thrive to make sports betting as safe as possible.
“We want to have a robust market,” Knight reportedly said. “We’re trying to bring the illicit market to the regulated market … but we agree that we want to reduce harm as much as possible. … We understand that we are trying to sell, but then we also understand that we are trying to promote responsible consumption. … We understand there is some kind of dual mission with sports betting.”
Latest US Launch:
The Vermont bill would reportedly set stringent advertising and marketing rules for sportsbooks. The operators would need the approval of the Department of Liquor and Lottery to run advertisements and campaigns. They would also have to work with the department to limit marketing activities aimed at persons under 21 years of age.
Finally, the bill would imply that the gambling revenue be shared between operators and the lottery, with a 20% revenue share currently set as the minimum amount. The Senate meets every day this week and the bill sent to the floor may be signed into law still this week to mark Vermont as the latest US state with legalized sports wagering.