New Hampshire online casino bill awaits Senate vote

New Hampshire

At a pivotal time in the US online casino industry forged by recent failures in the northeastern region, a bill for a regulated New Hampshire market is set to be considered in the Senate on Thursday. 

Whilst seeking to regulate online gambling in the Granite State, Senate Bill 104 will also aim to use gaming revenue to fund a community college education scholarship.

The bill could be passed by the end of the month as Senator Timothy Lang, who has sponsored the legislation, pushed for the notion to be debated on the Senate floor this week. 

If SB104 gains a majority decision from the full House of Representatives’ vote, it would then need to be approved by the state’s Governor Christopher Sununu before coming into effect.

Although the bill does not give information on the number of licences that would become available if passed, it does cite that the New Hampshire Lottery would be in charge of opening a bidding process for the potential licensees, before overseeing the regulation. 

Tax rates – estimated to be around 35 per cent of revenue – as well as responsible gaming measures, integrity and capabilities as an operator are all to be considered in the NH Lottery’s bidding process.

Adding to New Hampshire’s gambling ecosystem that already consists of online sports betting, casino and lottery, the bill would introduce online forms of poker, blackjack, cards, roulette, craps and baccarat amongst other games of chance.

Should the bill be enshrined into law, it would become effective from Jan 1, 2024. This means it is unlikely to see any new online casino launches during 2023 in the US.

If passed, the New Hampshire online casino market would get underway on January 1, 2024, making it unlikely that we will see any new online casino market launches throughout the remainder of 2023. 

Alongside the provisions for the structure of New Hampshire online casino law, the bill also provides projections for revenues and contributions to the Scholarship Fund. 

As aforementioned, the bill also plans to utilise newfound gaming revenue in contributions to a Scholarship Fund. Assuming the predicted tax rate of 35 per cent, the NH online casino market projects $14.2m in revenue for the state by 2026, from GGR of $40.5m.

This would also provide revenues of $13.5m to the Scholarship Fund by the third year of online casino play in New Hampshire. 

The Granite State now represents the greatest chance of regulated online casino expansion in 2023. Perhaps most promising for the bill is the fact that it holds cross-party sponsorship, even though NH is a majority Republican state.

One detriment to SB104 comes from constantly circulating criticisms of the online casino gambling, due to the effects of problem gambling on the rise of mental health issues and suicide. 

However, backed by the notion that Gov. Sununu has already passed the state’s sports betting laws in his tenure, Sen.Lang is confident that his bill will pass its vote in the Senate, stating on twitter: “the bill ought to pass with an amendment (minor changes to the Community College scholarship side of the bill”.