Vermont Announces January Launch Date for Online Sports Betting Market

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  • Sports betting should generate $7 million in revenue for the state in the first year
  • Several sportsbooks lobbied the state to legalize sports betting
  • Bettors will not be able to wager on horse races or in-state colleges and universities

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s office announced Tuesday that online sports betting will go live statewide on Jan. 11, 2024.

DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fanatics Sportsbook were all awarded six-year online operator’s licenses. A total of five sportsbooks submitted applications to the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery, and those three were selected after a thorough vetting process.

Sports betting is expected to generate roughly $7 million in gross gaming revenue in the first year of operation, higher than originally anticipated, per Vermont Liquor and Lottery Commissioner Wendy Knight.

Joining the wave 

Operators are allowed to preregister customers but cannot offer betting lines until the Jan. 11 launch date.

BetMGM and PENN Entertainment (which now operates ESPN Bet) applied for licenses but were not selected for one of the three available licenses. The online sportsbooks that were selected will have the opportunity to renew their deals at the end of the six-year agreement if the state agrees.

Vermont is one of 38 states (plus Washington D.C.) that have legalized sports betting—however, of those, it is the only one that does not have an operational market.

The topic of bringing legal sports betting to Vermont was proposed years ago but required several rounds of the legislature before it could be signed into law.

“I first proposed Vermont legalize sports wagering several years ago, and it’s good to see it come to fruition,” Gov. Scott said in a release on Tuesday. “Vermonters and visitors alike will soon be able to access a regulated sports wagering marketplace, which will come with important consumer protections and generate revenue for the State.” 

Vermont allows the Department of Liquor and Lottery to contract between two-six operators, which means that it’s possible for more companies to enter the local market in the future. Customers must be 21 or older to place bets at any local sportsbooks. 

Companies will pay $550,000 in licensing fees every three years and are legally obligated to share a minimum of 20% of revenues with the state.

Per Knight, Vermont was able to agree to revenue shares between 31-33% with its new three sportsbook partners.

Legal landscape 

Scott’s commitment to bringing sports betting to Vermont has not come without caution. He made sure there were a number of provisions and safeguards to help protect gamblers, such as regular deposit limits, before signing the bill into law. 

Customers also cannot link credit cards to their accounts to ensure they aren’t gambling money they don’t have. Instead, they are able to deposit funds into their account using debit cards or personal bank accounts. 

The Department of Mental Health will oversee the creation of programs to help those afflicted with problem gambling behaviors.  

DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM played a large part in getting sports betting legalized in Vermont. In 2020, DraftKings hired a lobbying firm based in the state capital of Montpeiller to argue in its favor against state lawmakers.

In 2021, DraftKings enlisted the help of FanDuel and BetMGM, who also helped lobby against policymakers.

Despite the impending launch of the market, Vermont sportsbooks will not offer betting lines for certain sports. Horse race betting is still illegal, and users will not be able to wager on events involving in-state colleges or universities.

Mobile sports betting went live in nearby Maine in November, and Massachusetts fully joined the sports betting scene in March. 

The entire Northeast United States will have legal, live sports betting once Vermont’s market launches.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.