Renewed efforts to get Vermont into the world of legalized sports betting began in February 2021. Senator Dick Sears and three of his colleagues filed a bill that would run sports betting through the state lottery and create up to six mobile sports betting licenses. Sears was also at the forefront of the 2020 bill that ultimately fell by the wayside. Perhaps things would have gone differently if not for COVID-19.
Vermont, like so many other states, needs an influx of capital after helping its citizenry through the global pandemic, so it only makes sense that Sears would submit another betting bill. The wording of this bill would only create the opportunity for sportsbooks to begin taking wagers, but does not outline anything about the framework of licensing costs or tax rates.
Also like so many other states, Vermont is in danger of being surrounded by states that take legal sports bets. While sports betting in New York is not overly helpful for those in New York City, it is more easily accessible for the New England states because retail sportsbooks take bets in upstate NY. Massachusetts is pushing forward and could have something done before the upcoming football season. New Hampshire has sports betting, albeit a monopoly from DraftKings.
Canada even recently approved the legislation for single-game betting. The chief argument for anybody that sponsors a betting bill nowadays is the amount of money lost to neighboring states and that is now becoming a much bigger concern for Vermont as nearby jurisdictions move forward.
Vermont does not have any retail gaming locations, so they would follow the framework of Tennessee, which also runs sports betting through the lottery and is all online and mobile. Virginia has also embraced that same setup, though the state for lovers passed a referendum to allow brick-and-mortar casinos to be built. Those are in construction now.
Fortunately, the Vermont bill would not create a monopoly. It would create something of a competitive environment. The state obviously has a small population, so it would be interesting to see how many operators were willing to set up shop, but if the licensing costs are reasonable enough and the tax rates are not outlandish, filling all six licenses should be relatively easy.
Maybe the most important factor in all of this is that Governor Phil Scott is very much on board with legalized wagering. This isn’t a Congress vs. Governor matchup, where the Governor would be a favorite to veto a bill. If something gets sent to his desk, he is extremely likely to sign off on it.
Therefore, the ball is in the court of the state legislature and this one looks like a favorite to happen sometime in 2021.
Well, unfortunately, you cannot do that from home just yet, but it sure looks like you might be able to by the upcoming football season. Depending on which part of Vermont you live in, your options are to go to New Hampshire and bet with DraftKings or go to New York and bet at one of the retail sportsbooks upstate.
New Hampshire might be the easiest spot because you can bet online or mobile, you just have to be within the state borders and have to bet with DraftKings Sportsbook. You can sign up for an account once you cross over into NH and then fund your account.
There aren’t a lot of gaming facilities close to the population centers in Vermont, but if you want to take a drive on a football weekend or for some college basketball Saturdays, there are options.
There is a BetRivers Sportsbook at the Rivers Casino in Schenectady.
There is a FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs in Nichols.
There is a DraftKings Sportsbook at del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo.
Resorts World Catskills in Monticello could be another option.
The best option for Vermonters when it comes to New York would be an expansion of mobile betting, which is something that Governor Andrew Cuomo has talked about in recent months.