NH Gov Sununu celebrates Gov. Janet Mills’ veto of sports betting bill

CONCORD, NH – Reaction was mixed to negative when Maine Governor Janet Mills announced she had vetoed a bill to legalize sports betting in Maine. Fans of sports betting were, as would be expected, disappointed and upset that Mills had issued the veto. Advocates of legalizing sports betting for the purpose of raising additional state revenue were also disappointed. But across the border, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu was expressing excitement for the Mills veto.

The Maine bill Governor Mills vetoed would have allowed local sports betting in-state, along with mobile betting. In-state betting establishments would have remitted 10% of their gross receipts to the state, and mobile betting providers would have remitted 16% of their gross receipts to the state. The bill would also allow fantasy sports betting games based on college athletes.

The bill, LD 553, had been tightly crafted with a twenty page amendment establishing a regulatory structure, laws around the licensing of betting establishments and providers and much more.

Tweeting a Portland Press Herald article, Governor Chris Sununu said “New Hampshire is Open for Business!”

Sports betting was approved in New Hampshire in July of last year and the state approved a contract with DraftKings, a sports betting company, in November. New Hampshire officials expect the new system to generate millions in new revenue for the state.

When issuing her veto, Governor Mills said, “respectfully, I remain unconvinced at this time that the majority of Maine people are ready to legalize, support, endorse and promote betting on competitive athletic event.”

“Before Maine joins the frenzy of states hungry to attract this market, I believe we need to examine the issue more clearly; better understand the evolving experiences of other states; and thoughtfully determine the best approach for Maine,” Governor Mills wrote. “That approach needs to balance the desire to suppress gambling activities now being conducted illegally and the need to protect youthful gamblers and those least able to absorb losses under a closely regulated scheme.”

Supporters of the bill say that the issues Governor Mills cited as reason for the veto were addressed in the bill.

DraftKings is currently running ads on Facebook calling on Mainers to reach out tell their local legislators to override Governor Mills’ veto. The bill sailed through the Maine House without a roll call vote, known as going “under the hammer.” In the Maine Senate, it had one roll call and passed on a 19-15 vote.

More than a dozen states have adopted sports betting since a 2018 Supreme Court decision ruled that states were allowed to legalize the practice. Companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings have opened legal sports betting markets in more than a dozen states since then.

The American Gaming Association has pegged the current illegal gambling market in the United States at upward of $150 billion per year. The legal gambling market in 2020 could exceed $10 billion, a far cry from the size of the illegal gambling market.

In states where sports betting is legal, mobile phone apps run by sports betting companies are a popular method of placing bets. In some places physical betting locations are also quite popular.

Lawmakers will now vote to see if they wish to override the Governor’s veto. A 2/3 majority of both the House and Senate is required to override the veto.

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