New Amendment Aims To Pump Up Fledgling New Hampshire Sports Betting Industry

Written By Martin Harris on January 14, 2021

Currently, New Hampshire allows live in-game wagering via online sports betting platforms.

However, bettors cannot make those same live bets at retail sportsbooks.

That situation could change if Rep. Timothy Lang gets his way.

This week Lang introduced House Bill 230, designed to amend the current sports betting law to permit live in-game sports betting at retail locations.

Lang’s bill also seeks to remove the current cap on the number of retail sportsbooks allowed in the state.

Lang seeks to eliminate live-betting technicality

HB 230 is short and to the point, a single-page amendment to the current law that adds one line and removes another to accomplish Lang’s goals.

The addition would permit Tier II sports wagers at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Tier II refers to an “in-play sports wager,” or live betting. Bettors can currently only place Tier II wagers via a mobile or online sportsbook.

At present, retail sportsbooks can accept Tier I or Tier III wagers, as can online sportsbooks. Tier I refers to traditional outcome-related bets placed before a contest starts, while Tier III refers to lottery-themed wagers.

The omission would remove a line in the current law, which states: “No more than 10 sports book retail locations may be in operation at any given time.”

Party power shift encourages revisions to sports betting law

Lang previously argued for both allowing in-play betting at retail locations and the removal of the cap on brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.

Back when the bill’s language was still being finalized in spring 2019, Lang petitioned for both of those changes. His efforts failed, however, and the bill passed without them in July 2019.

“That was a compromise with the House Democrats, who feared there would be a betting parlor on every street corner,” Lang told Legal Sports Report at the time.

Lang also viewed the restriction on in-play betting as unneeded.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate because they can whip their phone out and make the same bet. It doesn’t stop the action, it just makes it so retailers are hamstrung,” Lang said.

However, the November 2020 elections saw the New Hampshire House and Senate both go Republican — Lang’s party.

That shift in power appears to have encouraged Lang to propose his amendment and reintroduce his preferred terms into the state’s sports betting law as the 2021 session begins.

DraftKings remains lone choice for NH sports betting

As it stands, New Hampshire sports betting remains in a fledgling state.

DraftKings Sportsbook launched what remains New Hampshire’s only online sportsbook in December 2019. In August 2020, DraftKings also opened what remains the state’s lone retail sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook at The Brook in Seabrook.

In other words, Lang’s proposal would only affect a single establishment’s ability to provide in-play betting.

The likelihood of more than 10 retail sportsbooks coming to the Granite State appears minimal.

Meanwhile, allowing in-play betting via mobile devices or online would bring the state in line with what most other jurisdictions with legal online sports betting offer.

Small steps, though. For now, Lang’s bill proceeds to the House Ways and Means Committee before moving up the legislative ladder.

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