In spite of a reputation as a lax state when it comes to marijuana usage, sports betting in Vermont is a relatively legalized form of wagering that is tolerated by the residents. Unlike betting on college and professional sports, however, marijuana is not legal in the state. Sports books do not book games involving marijuana. In some cases, the absence of such information may pose a problem for users. For example, if you know that the opponent is on marijuana, but there is no mention on the Scoreboard, you may still bet the game because it is legal, even if it’s against the law.
There are many different reasons why online sports betting in Vermont may seem like a risk. But the relative lack of legal regulations, and relative lack of regulation of local offline sportsbooks, actually make online sports betting legal in Vermont. According to numerous reports, including that of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, online sports betting is now a billion dollar industry. Gambling in general, and online gambling specifically, are currently considering a billion dollar industry in the United States. As such, it is no surprise that many states, from New Hampshire to Rhode Island, have made it illegal to gamble on NCAA games and other sports.
The rationale for this legislation was that local, state, and federal laws were being compromised by legalized sports betting. The legalization of online gambling by placing bets on NCAA games would make it too easy for people to wager hundreds or thousands of dollars without following the same laws as traditional bookies. To that end, two separate bills were introduced to legalize sports betting in Vermont, both of which passed in the House and Senate and are headed to the governor’s desk.
The first bill proposed to legalize sports betting legal in Vermont was introduced by Rep. Joe Pigno. The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 66-5, would amend the definition of “sportsbook” to include online sports betting sites. Online sports betting would be treated just like regular gambling and the same regulations would apply to both offline and online sportsbooks. Offline sportsbooks are currently against the law because of the fear that people will migrate to online sports betting sites if they are not legal. However, due to pressure from the NCAA and other groups, the State Board of License is now reviewing the current definition of a sportsbook and could redefine it before it becomes law.
The second sports betting legalization bill was introduced by Senator Richard J. Miller. His bill proposes to legalize sports betting across the state by making a one-cent tax on a tax on each bet. Due to the House and Senate passing the same bill, the Senate will now consider it. Although this legislation may increase the cost of doing business in Vermont, especially small businesses who rely heavily on clientele and generate a substantial amount of their income through betting, the revenue generated from legalized sports betting could help the state generate additional tax revenue.
A recent study performed by the Sports & Recreation Association of Vermont, an organization funded by major sports companies, recommends legalization of online sports wagering. The study was undertaken as part of the group’s campaign to create a sports betting infrastructure in the state. The study found that while fewer than half of the state residents gamble online compared to those who do, the number of gamblers using an offshore site were far lower than those using an official licensed site. Online gamblers in Vermont were found to play a more substantial game of poker, college football and basketball, and they tended to bet more on games that have larger payouts. Online sports betting legalization in Vermont may take advantage of the growing trend toward offshore gambling.
With the legalization of online sports betting in Vermont on the agenda, it is easy to see how the trend toward legalized gambling in other New England states could impact the decision here. Legalization could also have a ripple effect on neighboring states like Massachusetts, where lawmakers recently passed a bill legalizing online gambling. While officials in Massachusetts are reviewing the new law, it is likely that legalizing online sports betting will be made a priority in the upcoming legislative session. Legislation to legalize online gaming has already been introduced in Congress, which may add momentum to the Vermont effort.
With encouragement from politicians like U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D Vermont), legalize online sports betting legislation is likely to become a reality in the near future. In recent years, many sportsbooks have concentrated their efforts on building legal bases in the jurisdictions in which they operate rather than focusing on international customers. Efforts to build international bases have proven successful for some bookmakers. However, with New England is the home of the American sports fan and the largest state in the union, it makes sense that political support is necessary for legalization efforts to become a reality.