Vermont set to embrace betting, but very slowly

October 24, 2022 Vermont State Flag - Casino Genie

Among the states to pass some form of legislation regulating betting on sports, the collection that makes up New England have been some of the most ready and willing in recent times. One state that has bucked that trend has been Vermont. The largely bucolic Green Mountain State is not against sports betting, as the existence of the Vermont Sports Betting Study Committee demonstrates. But the VSBSC has been moving somewhat slowly when it comes to delivering its recommendations. And recent comments from the chairperson indicate that that’s because the Committee itself doesn’t know what those recommendations are.

First things first: Vermont will indeed implement betting regulations in the state. It’s a matter of time, with lawmakers in the state in broad agreement that right now, sports betting revenue is flowing out of the state into nearby jurisdictions that have already passed laws. Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire have all got their betting platforms up and running. Massachusetts and Maine will follow, with both having passed bills to permit betting, and merely need to iron out the details of how. Vermont is so far undecided on not just the when, but also the what.

According to the chairperson of the VSBSC, Wendy Knight, the Committee is divided on whether Vermont should have online betting, retail betting, or both. This isn’t unheard of among states looking to permit betting on sports. California is currently facing votes on two separate options which are divided between “retail” and “both”. and may end up not passing either of them. But Vermont is broadly sure it wants sports betting, so this delay seems a little more frustrating.

We won’t have any kind of answer this side of the New Year, either: the next time that the VSCBS meets it will already be January, so there certainly won’t be any kind of decision in 2022. After that, lawmakers are in session until they break in May, so there is a four-month window to get recommendations in place and then have a bill written and voted on. If it doesn’t pass in that time, then Vermont sports bettors will be waiting until 2024 – and that will be more revenue that goes to what, by then, will be five other states in the surrounding area.

The most recent moves by the VSCBS include having held a Town Hall meeting in which local residents, sports fans and sportsbook representatives gave their opinions and insights to the committee, which will form part of the deliberations over next steps. These will help to guide a decision on whether – for example – a new regulatory body will need to be set up to administer sports betting in the state, or whether there is a competent existing body that could take on that job.

We’ll see if things kick into life in any kind of hurry in early January. While movement is slow right now, it is expected that any recommendations coming from the Committee will be considered acceptable to a legislature that is broadly pro-legislation. Now we just have to wait and see what that means for sports betting in the state.

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