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New England News

New Hampshire Becomes Latest State With Sports Betting

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    New Hampshire this week became the second New England state, after Rhode Island, to offer sports betting.  The Granite State is encouraging people in Massachusetts to come across the state line to place wagers.

    Legal sports wagering was launched in New Hampshire when Gov. Chris Sununu, holding his iPhone for all in a Manchester sports bar to see, placed an $82 bet ( he’s the state’s 82nd governor) on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl.

  "We are off and running," declared Sununu. "It is that easy."

   The payout to the Republican governor, if is his bet is right, would be about $1,000.  Officials have projected New Hampshire will collect $10 million annually in sports-betting revenue.

   Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, expects a sizeable portion of that gambling money to come from out-of-state.

   "Money doesn't care about geography," said McIntyre, who predicted gamblers from Massachusetts would "drive up here in droves."

   To place an online bet in New Hampshire, a gambler must be at least 18 years old and physically located in the state.  The law also authorized up to 10 in-person sports book locations around the state.

   Since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 cleared the way for states to legalize betting on sports, 20 states have done so.

   Sports betting at Rhode Island’s casinos started in November 2018 and went online last summer.  New York allows sports betting at casinos, but not online.   Legislation to allow sports wagering in Maine is pending final approval this month.

   Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker filed a bill almost a year ago that would permit sports betting at the state’s three casinos and online.  

   "Just as the big debate about casinos  generally in Massachusetts was about all the revenue and all the commerce we were losing to Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and New York and Vegas for that matter, was that we wanted to give people here in the Commonwealth an opportunity to stay in Massachusetts and sports betting falls into that category as well," said Baker.

   The Republican governor estimated his sports betting bill would have generated $35 million in the current fiscal year.

    The legislature’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies has been studying several sports betting bills.  The co-chairman, Democratic State Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow, has repeatedly declined to speculate on when, or if, sports betting legislation might advance.

    Mike Mathis, the president of MGM Springfield, said he wants to keep up the pressure to bring sports betting to Massachusetts.

    "We've got a plan to turn on the sports book very quickly once they give us the green light," said Mathis.

    Speaking with reporters last summer, Mathis said at some of MGM’s other properties business has jumped by as much as 10 percent after sports betting was introduced.

   "Because people stay longer, go to restaurants, and support the facility above and beyond the sports betting business," Mathis said.

   At least one Massachusetts company is benefiting from sports betting in New Hampshire. Boston-based DraftKings got the state contract for the mobile sports-betting app.  It gets to pocket half of the money gamblers lose.

 

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