Vermont Sports Betting Market Launches

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Vermont sports betting opened today, January 11, 2024, at 12 midnight local time. Three mobile betting operations are now available for Vermonters to use.

FanDuel, DraftKings, and Fanatics Sportsbook are now operational in the Green Mountain State after obtaining licenses late in 2023.

Registrations for accounts opened earlier this week, meaning players could start betting as soon as the clock ticked midnight.

State Governor Phil Scott signed House Bill 127 into law in June 2023, paving the way for Vermont online sports betting to launch just six months later.

The state expects some $7 million a year in tax payments from the three initial legal sportsbooks.

“We are pleased to have selected three of the industry’s top companies to offer Vermonters and visitors the opportunity to engage in mobile sports wagering in a fun and safe regulatory environment,” said Commissioner Wendy Knight of the launch.

Strict Regulations, Various Sports Available

The Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery, collaborating with the state Department of Mental Health, has set robust regulations and oversight mechanisms.

The three selected operators went through a rigorous application process in which two other national sportsbook operators were rejected.

The three platforms are required to adhere to strict guidelines, including the submission of annual responsible gaming plans.

These plans focus on problem gambling materials, resources for bettors, self-exclusion programs, and house-imposed player limits.

Ahead of the launch, Vermont revealed a comprehensive catalog of approved sports for wagering, covering major U.S. leagues such as football betting on the NFL, as well as the MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS.

It also includes more niche sports like cornhole, World Chase Tag, and drone racing.

The state has set clear boundaries, prohibiting betting on collegiate teams from Vermont except in large events like the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament known as March Madness. Vermont horse betting is also not allowed, although there are provisions for the regulator to look at changing this in the future.

The state has only one professional sports team, the Vermont Lake Monsters, who, as of 2023, play in a collegiate league, so aren’t available for bets.

Small Market, But Some Operators Denied

That lack of sports teams in Vermont is because of its small population of just 675,000 people, which is the second-smallest of all American states after Wyoming.

That small market size influenced the number of sportsbooks that applied to the market. However regulators were not afraid to reject some applications.

The state approved Fanatics, DraftKings and FanDuel, despite receiving two additional applications.  

ESPN Bet and BetMGM were both denied a Vermont license because of specific regulatory and proposal issues.

The newly launched ESPN Bet, backed by Penn Entertainment, failed to submit the necessary documents. Meanwhile BetMGM’s proposed revenue-sharing model was not accepted by lawmakers.

Overall Market Comparisons

Vermont’s sports betting venture is expected to bolster the state’s economy by some $7 million in taxes per year.

The revenue generated will support various state-funded initiatives and a fund promoting responsible gambling. The tax structure sees DraftKings and Fanatics paying 31% of revenues to the state, while FanDuel will pay 33%.

Compare that estimated $7 million in annual taxes to sports betting in New York, which is the largest U.S. market.

Sportsbooks in the Empire State paid more than $96 million in taxes for December alone, reaching $861.8 million for 2023. That’s more than ten times what Vermont sports betting is expected to pay in taxes over the next decade.

However, the three operators that have launched in the state clearly think Vermont is worth a shot.

“As a Boston-based company, we are thrilled for the opportunity to further expand in the New England region and provide Vermont with access to safe and legal sports betting,” said DraftKings North America Cofounder Matt Kalish, speaking this week.

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