CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Proponents of legalized sports betting in New Hampshire believe backing from the governor is giving their proposal a boost.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu mentioned his support for allowing betting on sports games during his budget address earlier this month. Rep. Timothy Lang, who is sponsoring a bill to do just that, said the support was a pleasant surprise.
“We’re not creating a new industry here, we’re just brining an illicit industry into a legalized industry,” he told the Concord Monitor.
The bill would legalize betting on professional sports and most Division I college sports, excluding games involving New Hampshire schools. Both mobile and retail gambling would be allowed.
Most of the revenue is expected to come from mobile gambling, though Eureka Casino Resort, the company that recently purchased Seabrook Greyhound Park, has expressed interest in a retail operation there.
“If the bill passes, they’ll seek town approval to offer sports betting there,” Lang said. “That’d be the kind of place you can go to sit and watch a game and place a bet.”
Lang’s bill earmarks 10 percent of revenue for gambling addiction services, with the bulk of the revenue going into the state’s education trust fund. It estimates revenue of up to $7.5 billion for education in fiscal year 2021, and $13.5 million two years later.
The fantasy sports industry already has spent thousands of dollars lobbying New Hampshire lawmakers, who are also considering a Senate bill that would legalize two casinos that would include sports betting.
Christopher Cipolla, a lobbyist for DraftKings, told lawmakers that New Hampshire residents wager more than $625 million per year, mostly through offshore websites.
“This massive black market lacks necessary consumer protections and generates no revenue for the state of New Hampshire,” he said.