Getting to Know New Hampshire and Its Gambling History
Is any type of online gambling legal in New Hampshire?
- Online poker: It’s complicated.
- Online casino games: It’s complicated.
- Online sports betting: It’s complicated.
The laws of New Hampshire do not specify online gambling as legal or illegal.
In the New England part of the eastern United States, New Hampshire borders Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine, as well as a bit of the Atlantic Ocean and Canada’s Quebec province.
- Abbreviation: NH
- State Motto: Live free or die.
- Capital City: Concord
- Population Estimate: 1.34 million (41st)
- Website: http://www.nh.gov/
When Rockingham Park opened in New Hampshire in 1933, it did so to race horses and offer a place for newly-legalized pari-mutuel wagering. In 1949, bingo was legalized, and every dozen or so years, another form of gambling was authorized, such as sweepstakes, the lottery, charitable gambling, and greyhound dog racing.
Greyhound racing was made illegal again in 2010, and there are no horse tracks left in the state, but there are two pari-mutuel betting establishments.
Gambling is defined in Title LXII of the New Hampshire Statutes, and the law is rather straightforward with regard to gamblers, machines, and loans. Most gambling-related actions are crimes, although fantasy sports contests are exempted.
Social gambling is another story, however, as private poker games inside a residence are legal but with restrictions. There must be no rake, no admission or seat fees, no prizes of value, no house-banking, no advertisements for the games, and no more than 10 players at a time.
There is no mention of online gambling or sports betting in the statutes, nor on the websites for the New Hampshire Racing and Charitable Gaming Division or Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority.
Games of chance are addressed in the laws under Title XXIV, but it seems to be limited to raffles and other games conducted by charitable organizations. And the only permissions given for any games of chance are as follows:
“A charitable organization may conduct games of chance to promote the purpose for which it was organized and shall be licensed as provider in this chapter.”
Most Recent Developments
There have been developments in the expansion of gambling in New Hampshire in the past several years. The legislature legalized daily fantasy sports (DFS) in 2017, as well as online lottery ticket sales to expand opportunities for the state lottery.
Online gambling – poker and casino games – has been proposed. In fact, many hoped internet gaming would be attached to DFS and/or online lottery authorization bills, but lawmakers were not ready to accept that much expansion.
The most serious recent proposal for New Hampshire online poker and gambling was introduced in early 2017. The House bill was sponsored by three Republican members, and a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee was set up to inform other legislators and garner more information. Instead, the hearing focused mostly on DFS, which went on to pass that year. The online gambling bill did remain under consideration throughout the summer and had the chance for a late-session push in the fall, but legislators unanimously voted to stop the bill from progressing at all.
Pressure has been mounting on lawmakers to give online poker and casino games another look, however. Several neighboring states – Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – have legalized the games, and New Jersey has significant revenue increases to show for it.
In addition, there have been a handful of Senate members seeking to authorize land-based casinos in order to compete with neighboring states for those tourist dollars. A bill came very close to passage in 2014, but it failed by one vote.
There may be more of an interest in 2018 or 2019 for both brick-and-mortar and internet gambling in New Hampshire, as tourists continue to flock to surrounding states for gambling events and casino/resort venue options like concerts and restaurants.
Gambling Sites FAQ
Q: Can I play for real money on your recommended poker, gambling, and betting sites?
A: We recommend a number of sites that offer online gambling to residents of New Hampshire.
Q: Does state law enforcement intend to crack down on internet gaming?
A: As a small state with limited resources and little interest in gambling, New Hampshire is unlikely to give much consideration at all to offshore gambling sites, much less pursuing them for any type of prosecution. The expense and effort would outweigh the benefits for the state.
Q: Should players be worried about a crackdown?
A: No. Not only is New Hampshire unlikely to crack down on gambling operators themselves, they are even less likely to pursue players. There has never been an indication that law enforcement officials have any interest in internet bettors or players.
Q: What if one of your recommended sites shuts down? Will I get my money?
A: Online gambling licenses typically come with requirements that operators separate player funds from operating money, which means player funds are safe in case of any type of site closure. If a site merely closes to a particular site or market, withdrawals are even easier and done in a timely manner.
Q: How do I deposit and withdraw money from these sites?
A: Every site offers different deposit and withdrawal options for its players. Most customers in the United States can deposit via debit or credit cards, bank transfers, and sometimes ewallets, while withdrawals are offered via checks payable in one to two weeks. Some new customers are taking advantage of a new
option, though, that is offered by many sites, which is bitcoin. With so many online players dabbling in cryptocurrency, sites are now offering bitcoin – and other forms in some cases – that allows both deposits and withdrawals via the same account. Check with your site of choice and contact the customer service department with any questions.