Interest For Legal Sports Betting Exists In Vermont, But More Support Needed

Interest For Legal Sports Betting Exists In Vermont, But More Support Needed

Talks of legalized sports betting have been ongoing in Vermont since 2019. However, so far, they've just been that — talks. Very little progress has actually been made to legalize the practice once and for all. Once again, talks have arisen inside the state legislature, but will this time be any different? Let's find out with the latest update on "The Green Mountain State" push to lawful sports wagering.

Sports Betting Bill Is In Draft Phase (Again)

Vermont's neighbor, Maine, just became the 34th state to legalize sports betting in the United States. That leaves 16 stragglers, including Vermont. But for what it's worth, at least there's been attempts to get the state on the bandwagon (and reap the tax revenue profits that come with it).

The latest attempt is being drafted right now, at least that's what's making the rumor mill. Nothing is officially out, but details have emerged. The Board of Liquor and Lottery would operate a statewide mobile wagering system, which includes up to six licensees (all of whom would bid on it and be selected by the Board).

Interestingly enough, there's no mention of brick-and-mortar gambling or anything in-person. If this bill would somehow pass — which is a big if at this point, especially since it's not even official, little less up for action —Vermont would be the third state, alongside Tennesee and Wyoming, to have only digital wagering. That's not all that surprising since most states have shown that mobile-based betting is where the money is at.

Other tidbits about the proposed bill include:

  • Betting on Vermont college teams would be strictly prohibited (sorry, Catamounts fans)
  • The legal wagering age would be 18 (a departure from the usual limit of 21 in most states)
  • The annual license fee for operators would be a $50,000, plus a renewal of $20,000 (both are very modest amounts)

Will This Attempt Be Any Different Than Vermont's Previous Pushes For Legalized Betting?

Vermont has at least tried to pass sports betting before — unlike states such as Idaho or Utah, which have made zero attempts. One of the state's most ardent betting supporters has been senator Richard Sears. So has House Representative, Thomas Burditt, who sponsored a failed sports wagering bill in 2019. A year later, another bill was introduced that proposed to make mobile sports betting available to residents of the Green Mountain State, but of course, it went nowhere.

Though, the fate of Vermont legalizing sports betting hinges on study results — not just lawmakers. Studies have been underway for years, examing a wealth of topics related to lawful betting. That includes studies about comparative state regulations on the issue (e.g. what's working and what's not) to the local impact on socioeconomic and demographic groups if gambling were legalized.

But there's also one more probable reason why Vermont has been so slow on legalized betting — its lawmakers probably aren't being greased with money by lobbyists. Yeah, we said and it's likely true. With a population hovering around a measly 700,000 (second-smallest in the United States), there's little money to be made by sportsbook operators inside the state. That's why they're throwing money at lobbyist groups in more populated states (think Florida or Texas) over tiny Vermont. As they say, "money talks" and there's not much of it on this issue for Vermont lawmakers.

New England Becoming A Sports Betting Mecca

Vermont's hesitation to adopt sports betting is a head-scratcher, especially when most of its neighbors in the northeast have effectively gone "all-in" on gambling recently. Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island have all passed or updated betting laws in the last two years. That leaves only Vermont and Massachusetts without a betting presence in the New England area.

One of the challenges facing proponents of legal sports betting in Vermont is a relative lack of sports teams and events. The small-populated state does not enjoy the benefit of any major league sports teams. Heck, the University of Vermont Catamounts is the only state school that participates in NCAA Division I collegiate sports (but as the aforementioned bill draft says, they might not even be available to gamble on). Sure, Vermont is a destination for skiing and snowboarding — but Winter sports aren't big commodities on the betting market.

In the meantime, all we can recommend to Vermont bettors are offshore-based betting sites. By being offshore, these bookies circumvent local laws on betting. Not only that, but they're legit good sportsbooks and have been serving betting customers stateside for decades (back when only Nevada allowed legal betting). In the table below, you'll find our reviews of top online sportsbooks — the ones we feel are worth your time and money while Vermont figures this sports betting thing out.