On Wednesday, lawmakers advanced a Vermont sports betting bill to its third and final House committee on its path to legalization.
The House Committee on Ways and Means voted 11-1 in favor of H 127, a bill to legalize sports betting in Green Mountain State.
After the launch of Massachusetts sports betting, Vermont is the final state in New England without legal gambling.
What would H 127 legalize in Vermont?
During the Wednesday hearing, Rep. James Masland said he didn’t care much for [sports betting] but would vote for the bill. Only four of the 24 Vermont lawmakers who have voted on the bill thus far have opposed it.
Last month, a committee generated a report recommending a regulated system for betting on sporting events in the state. As a result, language in the bill would legalize up to six sports betting apps. Although no established tax rate exists, Gov. Phil Scott’s annual budget includes $2.6 million of sports betting tax revenue.
Amendments were made during Wednesdays hearing. However, most of the discussions took place behind closed doors. Lawmakers did say most of the changes revolved around advertising limits and consumer protections.
Vermont sports betting bill still needs work
The most significant talks centered around contractual negotiations between license applicants and the state. Charles Martin, government affairs director with the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery, said:
“[The changes] all seem very sensible. We have to put a little bit of more thought into the revenue piece, but not anything earth-shattering.”
Under H.127, the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery would regulate online sports betting and set a tax rate or revenue-sharing system.
Licenses would cost $275,000 each and be renewable annually for the same fee. Unfortunately, the bill still needs work. Currently, there is no language governing several other pertinent topics, including:
- Esports betting
- Deduction of promotional credits
- Tax rates on sports betting revenue
According to officials, such details still need to be ironed out before the legislative session comes to a close on May 19.