Vermont Lawmakers Nearly Ready to Propose Bill to Legalize Sports Betting

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • Vermont lawmakers could submit a sports betting bill by Friday
  • All other New England states have legalized sports betting
  • VT hopes to have the market at operational status by the end of the year

The sweeping fad of sports betting is continuing to expand to nearly every inch of the United States.

As 36 states continue to embrace their legal gambling markets, Vermont is now weighing up whether or not it will move to join the growing list of states with sports betting services. The state’s legislature is already meeting and expected to introduce a bill before the week ends.

The rest of the New England area either has or is embracing legal sports betting. Massachusetts is almost ready to debut its retail gambling, and Maine also has legislation in place—Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island already have active marketplaces.

Drafting the bill

Vermont officials began fervently exploring the idea of creating a sports betting market in August 2022. Since then, policymakers have heard several reports and countless opinions on the matter.

A majority of the research and debate has been funneled through the Sports Betting Study Committee. They took note of many key factors, including the growing momentum in the Northeast thanks to the success of other New England states plus New York and New Jersey.

Because of Vermont’s smaller size, lawmakers are targeting major events on the sporting calendar to help fuel participation. They are targeting the end of the year as the ideal inception of the state’s sports betting chapter for one specific reason.

“The big events [in sports betting] are around the NFL,” said Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery, Wendy Knight. “Our hope is that we will be able to stand something up by the end of the year so that we can take advantage of the [2023] playoffs.”

Legislators revealed that the bill is already being drafted, and its proposal is imminent. It stipulates the Dept. of Liquor and Lottery will be in charge of organizing and enforcing regulations within the sector.

State Representative Matthew Birong will sponsor the bill once it is finalized. As it stands, it will only legalize mobile betting. 

The state already employs a similar model with the Dept. of Liquor and Lottery and believes it would create a seamless transition for members of the organization.

“The state already operates a control model with our liquor and how we govern lottery,” said Birong. “It made sense to consider that regulatory oversight within that agency.”

Looking ahead

Although the details have not been finalized, lawmakers are reportedly looking to make the min-max window for operators between two and six. They believe that will create competition for licenses and ensure Vermont bettors are given the best options for legal sportsbooks.

Competition for licenses is common in most states, including nearby giant New York, and state officials are using that as a model for their framework. 

“What we have recommended is much like what New Hampshire has done, what Rhode Island has done, and what New York has done,” said Knight. “You're determining that revenue share with the state and the operators via competitive bid process.”

If Vermont succeeds in passing its sports betting legislation, it will mean that Georgia will be the only East Coast state without any legal agreement on sports betting, although Florida’s situation is complicated and is being heard in federal courts.

Because of the heavy prevalence of gambling in the area, VT lawmakers want to ensure that participants have the proper resources available to them, should they be needed.

“You simply need to make enough money available for prevention and treatment,” said Christine Reilly of the International Center for Responsible Gaming. “Sometimes in some states, the money gets appropriated, then gets moved towards drugs and alcohol, and that’s just not cool.” 

Lawmakers seem keen to step on the gas once the bill gets approved. Ohio, which has been a resounding success in its first month of sports betting operations, took over a year to get its market in place, and that does not fit Vermont’s ideal timeline.

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.