On Friday, for the first time ever, the Vermont House of Representatives passed bill HB 127. The said piece of legislation would legalize sports betting in the Green Mountain State. While the bill still needs to be approved by the Senate, during the Friday session, the bill went straight to voting, with no discussion being held on the floor.
The event that took place on Friday marked the very first time a sports betting bill has been passed by either chamber in Vermont. The bill that is yet to be passed as a law is supposed to help the state generate enough revenue to combat the increase of problem gambling that officials believe will be one of the results following the legalization of sports betting in Vermont.
Late Thursday evening, Vermont lawmakers reached an agreement on several amendments to bill HB 127, which was then approved without any discussions on Friday. The bill received almost unanimous approval, meaning sports betting is to be legalized in the Green Mountain State very soon.
Legal Sports Betting Expected to Generate Modest Amounts, Sports Betting Revenue to be Used to Minimize Problem Gambling Harm
According to the recently passed bill, the state of Vermont would benefit from at least 20% of the adjusted sports betting gross revenue, which would be generated through the operations of brands like FanFuel and DraftKings.
Depending on the number of brands operating in the Green Mountain State, betting companies that operate in Vermont will be charged a varying annual operating fee. The said surcharge is estimated to be $500,000 if the state market opens only for a single operator. However, the annual fee per operator could also be $120,000, with the proviso that the maximum allowed number of six companies are operating in Vermont.
Under the bill, obtaining an online sports betting license in Vermont would cost operators a fee of $275,000. The money, which will be earned through sports betting in the state, would go to Vermont’s General Fund, with at least $250,000 of that money is predicted to go to the Responsible Gaming Special Fund.
Another important amendment to the bill states that punters in Vermont will be able to place wagers on both professional and college sports, but betting on in-state college teams would not be allowed. The only exception to this restriction will be when Vermont college teams are participating in tournaments.
Based on data collected from states that have already legalized online sports betting, Vermont lawmakers are well aware of the modest revenue that the newly legalized market would generate in the first few years. While early estimates showed a possible state revenue of $2.6 million for fiscal year 2024, following the latest amendments to the bill, it was predicted that the state could bring in only $2 million for that fiscal year.
To further increase protection for vulnerable individuals, the House approved an amendment to the bill that will introduce harsh penalties on individuals and entities violating online sports betting rules in the Green Mountain State. First-time offenders could face a financial penalty of $25,000 but if sports betting operators are not compliant with the new rules for a second and third time, they will be punished with a fine of $75,000 and $150,000 respectively. Additionally, operators who violate the online sports betting rules introduced in the state of Vermont could potentially lose their licenses.