Casinos Could Kill One Sports Betting Bill In NH, But Elevate Another

  • Casinos Could Kill One Sports Betting Bill In NH, But Elevate AnotherNH SB 310 passed 13-11 in the Senate and is heading to the House.
  • NH HB 480 passed 269-82 in the House and is heading to the Senate.
  • Both bills have a good chance of legalizing sports betting in New Hampshire.

CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire State Congress has passed two sports betting bills so far and the state is currently on the path to legalizing sports betting.

Where The Bills Are Right Now

As reported in the past, New Hampshire State House passed NH HB 480 with a 269-82 vote. This bill aims to legalize sports betting by allowing Vegas-style casinos to open within the state. The legislation is now heading to the State Senate for consideration.

NH SB 310 is another sport betting bill that is being considered by Congress. The bill passed 13-11 in the Senate and is now heading to the Ways and Means Committee in the House. Both of these bills have advanced pretty far and they are no longer in their original Chamber of Congress.

The Difference Between The Two Bills

One of the main differences between the two bills is what they are focusing on. NH HB 480 is a sports betting first and foremost. It lays out that that there will be retail and mobile sportsbooks that will be run by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. The language in NH HB 480 focuses on the legalization and regulation of sports betting, including creating a council for responsible gaming.

On the other hand, NH SB 310 is listed as a casino bill. What this bill would do is it would allow for the licensing and operation of two Vegas-style casinos in New Hampshire. This includes allowing for sportsbooks to open in these two casinos and creating an online portal for sports betting. This bill would also establish a gaming regulatory fund, a gambling addiction prevention fund, and adds a gaming division enforcement division of the state police.

Concerns Over Casinos

Most people in New Hampshire is in favor of legalizing sports betting in the state. Governor Chris Sununu has said in the past that he is all in for sports betting. If either one of these bills makes it all the way to his desk, he is most likely going to sign off on it. But, lawmakers are not happy with language that includes getting casinos involved.

NH SB 310 main sponsor Senator Lou D’Allesandro has been trying to bring in casinos to New Hampshire for over a decade. He is hoping that sports betting could give his bill the momentum it needs to pass.

New Hampshire currently does not have any Vegas-style casinos in the state. There are some exceptions that allow for gaming to happen, but you are not going to find a fully stocked casino here. There are some lawmakers and concerned citizens that want to keep it that way. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Susan Almy shares that view.

“It looks very clear that we are not going to be putting a casino in New Hampshire. None of the casino companies want it and the House, in general, has been opposed to expanding to casinos with slot machines,” said Almy.

There has also been a complete lack of support from the casino industry. Normally, lobbyist would show up to support a bill that they were interested in. Due to the fact that New Jersey and other states in the New England area is filled with casinos, no one came to the committee meeting to support the bill.

It seems like the tide is turning against NH SB 310. New Hampshire’s Congress in the past has rejected casino expansions multiple times. But the Sununu has included sports betting language to his 2020-21 budget proposal and lawmakers seem excited about the prospect of sports betting.

It seems like the likely New Hampshire sports betting bill that will pass will be NH HB 480. The legislative session in New Hampshire is not expected to end until late June, so there is still plenty of time to see what ends up happening in the state.

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