As sports betting continues to expand in the United States, more and more states are trying to get the vertical legalized. One such battle is being waged in Vermont where an online sports betting bill moved closer to getting written into law.
House Bill 127, which was recently introduced by Democratic Rep. Matt Birong and nine other House members, seeks to legalize online wagering on sporting events. Under the law amendments outlined in the bill, the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery will serve as the state regulator.
Operators will be able to enter the Green Mountain State through a contract with the Department of Liquor and Lottery. Operators will be taxed 20% of their revenue and will also have to pay an annual fee that will depend on the number of companies that enter the state.
Vermont will allow for a total of six sports betting operators. If six companies join the local market, each of them an annual operating fee of $125,000. If fewer operators opt to enter Vermont, each of them will have to pay a bigger fee.
Following the latest amendments to House Bill 127, the measure was passed by the House with overwhelming approval. The Bill will now be handed to the Senate, which will decide whether to send it to the Vermont Governor to be written into law or not.
The Bill Addresses Problem Gambling
Proponents of gambling have argued that the legislation will benefit Vermont as it will create an alternative to the dangerous black market. Citing geolocation data from GeoComply, they said that thousands of players in Vermont are wagering illegally. As a result, the state is losing millions in taxes, pro-betting lawmakers claimed.
Others, on the other hand, are concerned by the dangers of gambling harm. Currently, Vermont lacks the framework to address the issue if problem gambling becomes the norm. Because of that, some agree that even if House Bill 127 makes the vote, Vermont ought to secure problem gambling resources and education before launching online sports betting.
The bill itself outlines a number of safer gambling regulations, such as the creation of a Responsible Gaming Special Fund, which will be used by the Department of Health to address and treat gambling harm.
Vermont is not the only state fighting for the legalization of sports betting. Currently, Texas lawmakers continue to debate the legalization of wagering on sports. A few days ago, HB 1027 passed the House vote in Oklahoma and is now headed to the Senate. Elsewhere, a North Carolina bill proposes the expansion of the state’s betting industry.