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Vermont online sports betting bill heads back to House for approval

Vermont gambling news

Online sports betting bill H 127 was moved back to the House on Thursday after it received approval via voice vote by the Vermont Senate.

Due to it originating from the House and the series of amendments it was subjected to in the Senate’s second reading, H 127 will have to return to the chamber for approval. If the committee votes in favor of the bill, H 127 will be sent to Gov. Phil Scott’s desk for his signature to legalize online betting.

Scott promised earlier this week to sign the heavily amended bill if it receives House approval. After the bill advances from the committee, the governor will have a timeline of five days, Sundays excluded, to sign or veto H 127. Once this period elapses, the bill will become law with or without his signature.

Vermont’s legislative session is set to adjourn on May 12.

The measure will allow individuals 21 years and older to place wagers on professional sports games as well as college events. It will, however, only legalize digital betting in the state with a minimum of two gaming operators and a maximum of six.

Under the bill, Vermont’s Department of Liquor and Lottery will oversee the creation and regulation of the program. The department previously stated that it intended to have the betting industry functional ahead of the anticipated NFL season playoffs. Part of H 127’s projected revenue will be used to fund problem gambling programs, while the rest will be sent to the general fund.

H 127 was first introduced on January 31 by Rep. Matthew Birong and has gone through six committees since then. There were alterations to the bill in every committee, mostly to introduce more targeted and restricting guidelines for responsible and problem gambling.

Enforcing stringent gambling advertising and marketing rules became a trend among regulators and legislatures after Massachusetts legalized the activity with strict regulations to ensure consumer protection and to shield vulnerable groups.

Some of the amendments made to H 127 include requiring the advertising and marketing plans of gambling operators during their license application. There was also a ban on advertising betting on products regularly purchased by individuals below 21.

If the bill is passed, Vermont will become the last New England state to legalize betting and the first to do so digitally. The state will also be the third to authorize digital-only betting, behind Tennessee and Wyoming.

Surrounding states like New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire have legalized both digital and land-based betting meaning Vermont residents will need to cross over to place in-person wagers.

H 127 is expected to be placed on the House agenda for concurrence early next week.

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