As the sports betting industry continues to grow and expand throughout the United States, the state of Vermont is starting to explore the idea. Lawmakers in Vermont recently returned from a 10-day suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, and sports betting was on their agenda.
On Tuesday, lawmakers in the Senate approved a bill that would set up a committee to explore how to tax and regulate a sports betting industry throughout the state. This bill is far away from actually legalizing sports betting in Vermont, but it is a huge step in the right direction.
The Senate believes that the state could generate more than $1 million per year in tax revenue, but they want a study to be done to get more exact figures. The Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs approved the bill on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 59 will create a sports betting study committee as long as it continues to be passed through. The Senate Appropriations Committee will be the next group to take a look at the bill and decide the next steps.
Even though the bill is still in the infancy stage, there is language as to what lawmakers will make up the committee. The Speaker of the House will choose two members of the House of Representatives to join the committee. The Senate Committee on Committees will appoint two members of the Senate as well.
Other members that are set to be on the committee are the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Taxes, and the Commissioner of Liquor and Lottery.
The Senate Appropriations Committee must act quickly if they want to push this bill even further before it comes to a vote. Lawmakers in Vermont are set to adjourn on May 8, and all of the meetings are scheduled to take place virtually for the time being.
Senate Bill 59 would go into effect on July 1, and the results of the study would have to be made by Dec. 15. The committee would end on Dec. 30. The committee has some examples to follow in the form of their neighboring states. Both New York and New Hampshire currently have legal sports betting, but each state does things a little bit differently than the other.
The hope is that Vermont will be able to discuss bills relating to legalizing sports betting in 2021 if the results of the committee are what lawmakers are hoping to see.
Governor Phil Scott has been a proponent of legalizing sports betting throughout the state. Scott has even drawn up plans, and he supports legalizing statewide mobile sports betting as well. It is unclear who would be put in charge of the sports betting industry, or where in-person sports betting would take place.
Vermont Has Limited Gambling Industry
If sports betting were to become legalized in the state of Vermont, it would become one of the only forms of gambling allowed in the state. There are currently no commercial or tribal casinos in the state of Vermont, and this bill does not allow for any to be built.
Vermont is also without any racetracks, and anyone wanting to do any betting of any kind must travel to another state. While New Hampshire and New York provide decent options, authorizing sports betting will likely become extremely popular throughout the state.
The state of Vermont does operate a lottery, and lottery games can currently be played online. Professional gambling of any kind is illegal throughout the state, but non-profit groups can offer games of chance as a way to raise money.