After being amended and approved by the Vermont Senate’s finance committee, the bill will now be taken to the Senate floor for full consideration.
The amended legal sports betting bill in Vermont, which had already received approval from the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee and the state House of Representatives through House Bill 127, has now been passed by the Senate finance committee. The bill will now move to the Senate floor for further consideration.
The Department of Liquor and Lottery will oversee regulation of online sports betting, with a provision to issue two to six licenses. However, the bill does not include any provisions for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
Initially, HB127 proposed a fee structure where a single operator would pay $550,000 annually, while two operators would pay $412,500, three would pay $366,666, four would pay $343,750, five would pay $330,000, and six would pay $320,833. The Senate considered various fee structures before deciding on an upfront payment of $550,000 to cover regulation costs.
The Department of Liquor and Lottery will negotiate contract lengths with the operators and determine when the $550,000 fee is due again. However, the amendment specifies that bookmakers won’t be charged more than once within a three-year period.
As part of their amendments, the Senate committee added a provision that bars sportsbooks from advertising during events that are targeted primarily towards individuals below 21 years of age. Additionally, operators must submit annual marketing strategies to the state that demonstrate how they plan to prevent their advertising from reaching minors.
The Senate committee also introduced requirements for sportsbooks to promote responsible gaming practices and resources for individuals seeking help in managing their play. Lastly, they included a directive that mandates the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery, which will regulate sports betting if HB 127 is passed, to allocate 5% of the receipts earned from sports betting to a new problem gambling fund.