This year, Vermont is considering making recreational sports betting legal. Although, this bill has not been given a hearing in committee, it may be a long shot to actually make it out of committee and onto the House floor for debate. No. A previous bill was introduced just last year with very little support, however, a second bill was recently introduced in January, that seems far more likely to get passed and make Vermont on the list, in terms of providing legalized sports betting. This means the first step in this journey will be the House.
Most sports betting is done in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and, like in any other form of gambling, people will wager on athletic events either by betting on individual athletes, teams or both. However, some states are now looking at the NCAA’s governing body as a legal gambling house. As if to confirm this suspicion, just days before the release of the report from the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, the state’s attorney general issued a strongly-worded statement calling into question the actions of the NCAA’s enforcement wing, the National Response Team (NTR). Specifically, the AG stated that the actions taken by the officials “appear” to be “fraudulent.” He went on to say that because of this “look into” the activities of the NCAA’s enforcement wing, it is “looking more like a sportsbook scam.”
What is going on here? Are the members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) itself looking into sportsbook operators and trying to regulate and control their activity? Or is this just another case of an overzealous state trying to get tough with an already highly regulated industry? The answer probably lies in the last sentence in the AG’s original statement. The AG’s words implied that since the NCAA has already addressed the matter of college betting, now it is up to the legal jurisdictions to do the same.
The first question that must be answered is why the state of Vermont is worried about the possibility of unlicensed sports betting in the state. The simple answer to this question is that in recent years, the government in Vermont has felt pressure from national and international groups to legalize sports betting across the board. In response, the state government has passed several pieces of legislation aimed at further protecting its residents from fraud and gambling activity. For example, the State of Vermont recently enacted a bill that allows anyone wishing to wager on horse racing in the state to do so without having to hold a gambling license.
In addition to this, in 2021 the state implemented a tax credit for Vermonters who place wagers at licensed sportsbooks. The rationale for this credit is not yet clear, but it seems to be designed to encourage sportsbooks to remain in business in the state. This tax credit is currently only available to out-of-state businesses. As such, only dealers in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine are eligible for the tax credit. If an out-of-state resident does win the tax credit, he or she will have to pay the state’s reasonable taxes. If the out-of-state gambler lives in Vermont, the resident may be able to deduct his or her winnings from the resident’s personal income taxes.
Another piece of legislation that aims to legalize sports betting in the state of Vermont is bill s.213. This bill would establish the “Wagering Commission of Vermont” as the sole authority over the regulation of sports gambling. The commission would be responsible for implementing and enforcing all laws related to wagering, including regulations pertaining to state gaming. However, the bill s. 213 doesn’t explicitly define who would be excluded from the list of persons or establishments regulated by the commission. Because the bill is still in committee, it will most likely be referred to as a measure concerning the regulation of gaming.
Lastly, another bill that seeks to legalize sports betting in the state of Vermont is bill s.213A. This particular bill doesn’t actually seek to legalize sports betting but rather is a proposal about how the Department of Revenue could regulate online sports wagering. Because the Department of Revenue handles many other matters involving online gambling, this particular bill is not seen as having much chance of becoming law anytime soon. It will, however, garner a lot more attention should it become a significant issue later on.
While many states have legalized gambling, there is still no guarantee that will happen in the future. One thing that does guarantee it is that there aren’t many states that have yet to make a decision. While it may be a long time until one is legalized in the state of Vermont, it is important for residents to begin exploring their options when it comes to placing bets on sports. It is illegal in many states to do so, but it isn’t illegal everywhere. Therefore, online sports betting in Vermont is legal and there is nothing preventing people from starting to wager there.