Vermont lawmakers have debated a bill, named H.127, which would allow two to six companies the ability to operate a mobile sports betting platform in The Green Mountain State. These prospective operators would be allowed under the supervision of the state’s Department of Liquor and Lottery.
Proponents of the bill say illegal sports betting is already commonplace online in Vermont, and the state was losing millions in tax revenue due to this.
Representative Matt Birong, a lead sponsor of the bill, used anecdotal evidence during the debate. He said he had attended a Super Bowl party where many guests used unregulated sites to bet on.
Birong argues that these sites offer users no protection from risk or fraud, unlike established operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
His colleague, Representative Mike McCarthy, is the Chairman of the committee that is attempting to push the bill through the state House. He commented: “The horse is out of the barn. We're trying to bring a black market into the light and put some protections on it.”
GeoComply, an analytics company, shared data with the House Committee on Government Operations and Military Affairs. It showed that, between September 2022 and February 2023 around 17,000 people in Vermont attempted to access legal sports betting platforms.
Although there is plenty of momentum around H.127 passing, many Vermont lawmakers still have a problem with the issue of responsible gambling. Legislators and health professionals agree that Vermont needs to greatly bolster its resources for people with gambling problems before sports betting is legalized.
National Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director, Keith Whyte, told state legislators that they would “basically have to build a system from scratch.”