The New Hampshire Senate has narrowly voted by thirteen to eleven to advance Senate Bill 104 through to the next round. The bill now advances to the Senate Finance Committee for further review before it would then return to the Senate floor for a final vote.
Although advocates of iGaming may take hope, it is worth noting that landbased casino reform measures have also passed through the New Hampshire Senate only to die in the 400-seat NH house.
The current gambling landscape in New Hampshire is different to many states, with no commercial casino operations. New Hampshire offers sports betting through the lottery, and other than that NH houses a racetrack and simulcast facilities and 17 different locations for charitable gaming. The charitable gaming locations are authorized to operate electronic bingo devices, limited gaming machines and terminals offering historic horse racing.
Terminals offering historic horse racing are capped at a bet limit of $25, and function in a similar way to other electronic gaming devices. They’re also legal in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon, Virginia and Wyoming.
Currently, New Hampshire faces limited competition from bordering states, with Maine and Vermont not currently having legalized sports betting. Vermont sports betting has moved through the initial legislative steps, and Massachusetts has recently gone live in a retail capacity and is set for a March mobile MA sports betting launch. With New Hampshire sports betting losing its competitive advantage, legislators may be more enticed to push through other means of gaming to avoid losing tax revenue across borders.
Indiana became the latest state to see IN online gaming dreams die in the committee. Many analysts had Indiana as the ‘favorite’ for iGaming legalization which has been far slower than the wildfire legislative change in sports betting since the repeal of PASPA.
New Hampshire is one of just a few where iGaming legalization is still on the table, with Rep. Addabbo of New York hoping to push NY online casino through too. Opposition has already started mounting, however.
On the sports betting side, with the failure of Proposition 26 and Proposition 27, California sports betting is not going to happen in 2023. The big hope from the three most populous states for 2023 is the Lone Star State, with Texas sports betting legislation more likely than ever to reach the November ballot due to bipartisan support in the house, and the Republican party losing control of the Senate to the DFL.
There has been little movement on Florida sports betting or Oklahoma sports betting, which are two of the other biggest states which commercial operators are extremely keen to see legalize.