New Hampshire has a modest gambling industry that brings in close to $300 million in revenue each year. Regulated gambling was introduced to the state in 1933 with the legalization of horse race betting. Greyhound racing used to be legal as well, but the relevant provisions were repealed in 2010.
New Hampshire was the first state in the nation to launch a lottery, but it’s always been behind the curve when it comes to casino games. In 1977, the state legalized poker and bingo. All games had to be run by registered charity organizations. The authorities enforced a maximum poker bet limit, which was set at $1. This limit was raised to $2 in 1998 and $4 in 2008. In 2015, the maximum bet regulations were struck from the books.
New Hampshire defines gambling as “risking something of value upon a future contingent not under one’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that something of value will be received in the event of a certain outcome.” This definition is broad enough to cover internet games, so New Hampshire residents don’t have access to any legal gambling options aside from off-track betting and the state-sanctioned lottery. Engaging in unlawful gambling in the Granite State constitutes a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $1,200. Lending money to aid another person to gamble is also a Class B misdemeanor.
Gambling-related matters are covered by New Hampshire Revised Statutes, section 647.2; 284.1 et seq. The minimum gambling age is 18 for lottery and bingo, and 21 for racing, casino games, and poker.
The local lawmakers never made any serious attempts at regulating internet gambling. In 2010, Gov. John Lynch declared that he might support online gambling to deal with the state’s budget deficit, but this idea never materialized into meaningful legislative action.
According to Section 647 of New Hampshire statutes, it is illegal to engage in gambling unless the state endorses the activity in question. While breaking the law would result in misdemeanor charges for individual players, illegal gambling operators could be facing jail time if their income exceeded $5,000 over 30 days. As is often the case, none of the regulations mention online gambling, which means that it’s impossible to say whether the general land-based gambling rules apply to online play or not. This issue has never been tackled in the court, as the state simply doesn’t go after casual internet gamblers.
New Hampshire poker rooms tend to confuse visitors because they are sometimes referred to as “casinos”. Charity organizations operate such venues and, under normal circumstances, aren’t allowed to offer any gambling beyond poker. According to New Hampshire regulations, casino games like blackjack or roulette can only be made available during designated “casino nights”. As it stands, eight gambling establishments are allowed to host such events.
New Hampshire residents don’t have access to any legal online casino sites. Playing on offshore platforms is illegal and constitutes a Class B misdemeanor.
It should be noted that not all New Hampshire lawmakers are happy with the current status quo. Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, has been trying to introduce commercial casinos to the state for almost twenty years. In 2014, he came very close, as a single vote defeated the proposed casino bill. During the current legislative session, D’Allesandro has managed to bundle casino gambling with a new sports betting bill, so there is a distinct possibility that, after all these years, he will finally succeed.
New Hampshire has eight poker rooms, which are run by charity organizations. These venues are located in Salem (Rockingham Park, 60 tables), Hampton Falls (The Poker Room at Hampton Falls, 30 tables), Milford (River Card Room, 25 tables), Seabrook (Seabrook Poker Room, 25 tables), Manchester (Manchester Poker Room, 17 tables), Belmont (Lakes Region Casino, 10 tables), Keene (Keene Poker Room, 9 tables), and Rochester (4Jacks Poker Room, 5 tables).
Back in the day, New Hampshire poker rooms were required to enforce a maximum bet limit, but this requirement was lifted in 2015.
New Hampshire doesn’t have a regulated internet poker market. Playing on offshore sites is prohibited and is considered a Class B misdemeanor.
New Hampshire lawmakers appear to be very interested in passing a sports betting bill in 2019 or 2020. This idea seems to have the approval of Gov. Chris Sununu, as well as the House and the Senate. However, the politicians have two competing bills to choose from – S310, which comes bundled with new casino regulations, and H480, which was recently greenlighted by the House. The proponents of both bills will likely have to work out their differences, which might prolong the legislative process.
Hypotheticals aside, New Hampshire has a well-functioning horse race betting industry, which is centered around the two local racetracks, Rochester Fair and Rockingham Park Race Track. New Hampshire residents can also engage in online off-track betting via TVG, TwinSpires, and XpressBet.
The issue of DFS contests hasn’t been addressed by New Hampshire legislators or the state’s Attorney General yet. As it stands, DFS operators maintain that they should be allowed to offer their products to New Hampshire residents because DFS contests are based on skill rather than luck. Since this claim hasn’t been challenged in legal terms and since neither FanDuel nor DraftKings have New Hampshire on their list of restricted states, it’s probably safe to assume this to be true.
New Hampshire Lottery offers intrastate and multi-state draw games, including Powerball, Mega Millions, and Lucky for Life, as well as scratchers and keno. The lottery is allowed to sell tickets online and to offer digital iLottery games via its website. These games are somewhat similar to online casino games and let the players bet up to $5 for a chance to win up to $20.
New Hampshire charities are permitted to host bingo games, but local businesses are prohibited from running commercial bingo parlors or online bingo sites. Playing on offshore sites is also illegal and is considered a Class B misdemeanor.
What types of gambling are available in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire doesn’t have any commercial casinos, but it’s more than possible that this will change over the next few years. The state doesn’t have any Indian gambling venues or live races, but New Hampshire residents are free to engage in pari-mutuel betting on simulcasts at the local racetracks. Those racetracks are also allowed to offer some casino games, including poker or blackjack. The state also allows some charitable gaming. Unfortunately, online gambling isn’t regulated in New Hampshire.
What laws cover online gambling in New Hampshire?
Games of chance and all the related issues are covered by Section 647 of the New Hampshire code, but you have to keep in mind that New Hampshire doesn’t have any online gambling-specific laws, as the statutes mentioned above have been drafted before the advent of online gambling.
Is real money online gambling legal in New Hampshire?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is that internet gaming isn’t explicitly banned in New Hampshire, and the authorities don’t apply general gambling laws to online play, which means that joining offshore sites like Bovada is 100% risk-free.
Which offshore gambling sites accept New Hampshire residents?
There’s nothing to stop New Hampshire-based players from joining offshore poker sites, casinos, or sportsbooks.
What are the most popular banking options supported by New Hampshire-facing sites?
Starting to play for real money is very simple as long as you fund your account using a Visa debit or credit card – the entire payment process is no different from purchasing at an online shop. Withdrawals are handled by your gambling operator as soon as you place your request. In most cases, you’ll be allowed to choose between cashing out via a check by courier and via a bank wire transfer.
Does New Hampshire offer any intrastate online gambling?
Regrettably, the answer is no. Unlike Delaware and New Jersey, New Hampshire doesn’t have a local internet iGaming industry, and New Hampshire-based companies simply can’t offer any iGaming products.
Is it likely for New Hampshire to regulate online gambling?
New Hampshire isn’t very likely to regulate online gambling unless the local politicians manage to convince the Massachusetts lawmakers to turn it into a joint effort. Consequently, it’s doubtful that the current regulations will change over the next few years.
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