Legal sports betting in New Hampshire could start as early as January 2020. That’s an optimistic timeline, but when Governor Chris Sununu signed the H480 bill into law in July, he said:
“I told my team, I said, ‘Look, I don’t care how we do this, but we’re going to be fair about it,’ and I’m going to be placing a bet on Tom Brady and the over before this season is done. You guys have got to go fast, fast, fast. And it looks like we’re on track, we’re hoping to get some stuff open as soon as January.”
The time frame depends on several factors, not least of which is whether the regulator, the Division of Sports Wagering can set up the new regulations fast enough.
New Hampshire is carving out its own model of sports betting regulation. The state has no licensed casinos, so using casinos as the conduit for legal sports betting is a non-starter. All sports betting will be under the aegis of the Lottery Commission which is how its done in other states like Oregon and the District of Columbia.
Where New Hampshire differs is that it isn’t going for a pure state monopoly. Instead it is creating a competitive market similar to the way things are done in Nevada or New Jersey.
Innovation takes time, so a competitive bidding process is in place to select the market entrants. This may make Sununu’s hope for a January start unachievable. Nevertheless, early Spring is definitely on the cards.
New Hampshire sports betting law
Under the new law, the state can offer licenses for up to 10 retail locations and five online/mobile sports betting operators.
At the end of October, the authorities selected DraftKings as the first operator to qualify to offer mobile and retail sports betting. DraftKings will reportedly be the only online sports betting operator in the state — at least for a while.
Unlike other states which have a specific sports betting tax, New Hampshire operators bid for their authorization by committing a percentage of their revenues to the state.
The amount varies depending on whether it is derived from mobile or retail sports betting. In a sense, the operators are being asked to compete for how much tax to pay. This seems to be a great “game theory” optimal method of collecting the maximum in revenues. On the other hand bids that offer too much to the state could reduce the cash available for marketing promotions.
Revenue share not sports betting taxes
DraftKings offered to pay 51 percent of its mobile sports betting revenue with the state if it becomes the sole operator. The percentage drops to 21 if there are two or three operators authorized and again to 16 percent if the state allows four or five brands in the market.
The huge drop if DraftKings is not alone in the market indicates the size of advantage a monopoly position would give it.
ROAR, the joint venture between MGM and GVC offered only 20 percent. Assuming that New Hampshire isn’t going to go for a monopoly situation, the blended sports betting tax equivalent rate on mobile should be between 15 and 20 percent.
That tax rate is in the sweet spot where it should encourage the greatest proportion of sports bettors to play at the legal sites and simultaneously generate the maximum revenue.
For retail sports betting DraftKings opted for an offer of 40 percent regardless of how many licenses are issued.
Other key elements of the new law are:
- The minimum legal for betting age is 18
- Remote registration is permitted for online sports betting
- In-play betting is only available online
- In-state collegiate betting is not permitted
When will the first sports bets be placed in New Hampshire?
The first legal sports bets could go live before the end of the NFL season, possibly in time for the annual March Madness.
Unlike other states where bricks and mortar casinos call the shots, mobile sports betting should go live first. Typically casinos get their retail sports betting running before adding the complication of mobile sports betting. In the absence of commercial casinos, there no reason to delay mobile sports betting.
In any case, mobile sports betting is likely to generate more revenue than retail sports betting. The operators have a strong incentive to get the most money back on their investment as soon as possible.
Where can I make legal sports bets in New Hampshire?
As yet it is not known what retail locations will be authorized. The law states that “sports book retail locations may be collocated with other commercial businesses or general commercial retail locations.”
However, the locations must be approved by a local vote in the town or city that wants them. The law even specifies the text of the question to be put to the vote:
“Shall we allow the operation of sports book retail locations within the town or city?”
The democratic process may be admirable, but it has the potential to lead to further delays. Operators can’t begin to invest in retail premises for sports betting unless they are confident they will be approved.
Modern sports betting venues are pretty high tech with lots of screens surrounding an area where better can sit, relax and watch the games. They aren’t cheap, and they can’t be built overnight.
The good news is that mobile and online sports betting will be available throughout the state. Note that geolocation technology is extremely effective.
New Hampshire sports betting is legal under state law, so it is only legal within the state borders. If you step outside the state it is illegal for operators to take your bets. Any bets you place before leaving will continue and you will receive any winnings, but the geo-location technology will prevent any sports wagering not inside New Hampshire territory.
How old do I have to be to bet in New Hampshire?
The minimum legal age to make sports bets in New Hampshire is 18.
Online operators have extensive age and identity verification procedures in place, so don’t try to use a parent’s ID or credit card to create an account. It won’t work.
Can I make bets online in New Hampshire?
Online sports betting is legal in New Hampshire. You do not have to be resident in the state, but you do have to be located within the borders to bet online.
Sports bettors with accounts in other states cannot use them to place sports bets in New Hampshire. Even if the same operator is active in several markets, the law doesn’t recognize sports betting accounts from other states.
If you do have a New Jersey account with DraftKings, for example, you must open a new account with DraftKings in New Hampshire. Some operators have procedures to speed this process, and even allow interstate account funds transfers, however this is not yet common.
If you already bet at an online sports betting site while you are in New Hampshire, you are using an offshore site that is illegal.
As soon as legal New Hampshire sites become available you should switch to the regulated market. This will provide protection for you and your money as well as offering a much better service than the offshore sites provide.
How do I open an online account?
To open an online sports betting account in New Hampshire you must visit the relevant site and follow the sign-up procedure.
Most sites offer a browser-based experience, but for some you will need to download the software to your PC. To open an account from your mobile device, you will need to download the appropriate app for either Apple iOS or Android.
Before starting the sign-up process, check that the sports betting software includes a statement that the site is licensed and regulated in New Hampshire. You do not want to open an account and deposit funds at an illegal offshore website by mistake.
The sign-up process is simple and just requires you to enter your personal details into an online form.
To place a bet you must first make a deposit. Some operators allow you to make a free bet before you deposit, but in either case you must prove your identity and age before you can cash out.
This is straightforward, with some operators enabling the whole thing to be done from your mobile phone.
Tick, software installed: Tick account set up: Tick funds in your new account. Now you are ready to start betting!
How do I make a deposit at a New Hampshire sports betting site?
Unlike Nevada, New Hampshire does not demand that customers register in person before they can start sports betting. There’s no need to visit a casino to make a deposit, everything can be done online.
The exact deposit methods permitted by each online operator will vary. Popular methods available in other jurisdictions include:
- Credit/debit cards including Visa and Mastercard
- Online bank transfer
- ACH eCheck
PayNearMe is a service offered in local stores such as 7/11 so there is an option to make your first deposit in cash if required.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
Withdrawals are as easy as deposits. usually you us the same method to withdraw that you used to deposit, but if you prefer to get a check in the post, or a transfer to your bank account this is equally easy.
Note that fast, reliable withdrawals are one of the biggest advantages of betting at legal sports betting sites. If you have ever tried to get money off an offshore site, you will know that the process is not at all straightforward and can often take days or weeks.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) made it illegal for offshore sites to use the US banking system to process financial transactions. Obviously this does not apply to the newly legal sports betting operators in New Hampshire.
New sports betting customer promotions will be available
In a new market there is an advantage in gaining early market share, so operators will be hungry to attract new customers. This manifests itself in some extremely attractive promotions to encourage sports fans to sign-up to sports betting accounts.
The sports betting operators are also eager to attract existing sports bettors away from the offshore sites.
The result is that sports bettors will be faced with seemingly unreal offers. The reason the offers are real is that operators work on the basis of the lifetime value of a customer.
Customers who find a sports betting site that suits them tend to stay for a long time. It’s a lot easier to offer several hundred dollars to acquire a new customer than it is to attract customers away from sports betting sites where they already feel comfortable.
Typically an initial offer will include a matching bonus. This is where the operator offers to pay an amount equal to your first deposit into your account.
There is a catch here. Normally you have to wager at least the amount of the bonus before receiving the free money. Before choosing your account it makes sense to check whether you have to wager just the amount of your deposit or a multiple of it before you win the bonus.
The other common incentive are free bets. Here the operator offers literally a free bet. Typically you get from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars which you can use to bet as soon as you open your account. If you win the winnings are yours. If you lose no money is taken from your account.
Sports betting Loyalty schemes
Most, but not all online sports betting operators offer loyalty or VIP schemes.
You receive points in the VIP club for each bet you make. Often the scheme is tiered so that the value of points increases as you move up the tiers.
Points can be exchanged in an online store for benefits including cash, free bets and merchandise.
Don’t overlook the benefits of loyalty schemes. They are funded as part of an operator’s marketing expenses. Once they have attracted new customers it is in their interest to keep them.
You should consider the benefits of a specific loyalty scheme at the same time as you consider which sign-up bonus to choose. A low initial bonus can be offset by a valuable loyalty scheme, and vice versa.
Will the sports betting odds in New Hampshire be the same as in Las Vegas?
Sports betting odds are the price you are quoted for making a bet.
Most of the time, the odds will be the same as you would find in a Las Vegas casino. Some of the time they will be better and some of the time they will be worse.
New Hampshire isn’t Vegas. The market has different characteristics, so sports betting odds will sometimes vary.
The good news is that New Hampshire license fees and taxes are competitive with other states. This means that the operators can afford to give the best odds. When taxes are high it becomes difficult for sports betting operators to offer competitive odds.
If the odds aren’t at least as good as the offshore sites, it becomes much harder to attract players to the legal offer.
What games can I bet on?
One great thing about so many overseas companies entering the market is that they have developed odds for all sorts of sports from all around the world.
The top six sports for betting on in the US are:
- NFL football
- NBA basketball
- NHL hockey
- MLB baseball
- Boxing/MMA contests
Betting on the NFL is more popular than any other sports betting. However, modern sports betting apps offer betting on less popular sports such as golf, tennis, volleyball and even Olympic sports.
Each site has its own sports, but the list is often as long as your arm!
The important thing to remember is that all the sports where licensed operators quote odds have their own sports integrity protections and reliable data feeds for odds calculation and results verification.
A lot of money now goes into ensuring that sports where betting takes place are as fair as possible. Penalties for match-fixing are severe.
For reasons of game integrity, New Hampshire does not allow prop bets involving in-state college teams. Other college sports bets are fine.
Odds are the price a sports betting operator sets for a particular bet. They can change very rapidly based on many factors.
Essentially the bookmaker works out the probability of a betting event happening and sets a price that is slightly in its favor. the difference between the true probability and the odds customers are quoted is known as the vig or vigorish. It’s where the bookmakers derive their profit.
In the US odds are normally quoted using Moneyline odds also known as American odds.
On the display of the odds either in a casino or on your mobile app, you will see a set of odds quoted for each team.
In front of the number there is a plus or minus sign. In moneyline odds all figures are quoted relative to a base figure of 100.
If there is a plus sign then you will win the quoted amount for every $100 that you bet. If you see odds quoted on your team as +200, then you will win $200 for every $100 that you bet. For different bet sizes you just calculate the amounts proportionally.
Odds of -200 mean you have to bet $200 to win $100. On top of the amount you win you receive your original stake back.
Most apps give you the option of seeing odds in the usual US way, or as fractional odds such as 1/2 or decimal odds where 1/2 is quoted as 1.5.
What bet types are there?
There are lots of different ways to bet on sports. The options can be confusing to beginners so below is a short summary of the most popular I use in the US today:
Moneyline wagers are ideal for beginners as they are the simplest form of sports betting. A moneyline bet is no more than a bet on which team or player will win a game.
Betting on the favorite will win less money than betting on the underdog, but obviously the odds of the underdog winning are lower.
If the odds are lower, you are less likely to win your bet.
Point Spread betting
Point Spread bets are bets on whether a team will score more or less than a line determined by he bookmaker.
One team is given points over the line and the other team has the same number of points below the line.
You win a spread bet when a team “covers the spread”, that is it wins by the number of points above the line, or if you are betting on their opponents, when they lose by less than the number of points under the line.
An over-under bet is also called a totals bet. These are bets where you predict whether the combined score of both teams in a game will be more or less than a specific number.
There are variations, but the basic over-under bet is on the final score of the game. If you bet the over and the score is higher than the quoted number you win. If you bet the under and the score is lower you win.
Parlay bets are some of the most popular ways to bet on sports. they allow you to wager a small amount of money with the chance of getting a very big payout.
Parlay bets combine a series of bets where you have to win every element of the parlay or you lose the whole bet.
Typically you might bet on the winners of a series of matches all taking place on the same day. If you guess all the winners correctly you will take home a big win.
The fun arises when you have correctly picked several legs of the parlay and are only one or two matches away from winning life-changing money from a small wager.
Of course the high potential payouts also mean there is only a small chance of winning, but you get a lot of fun (and tension) on the way.
A Round Robin ties several parlay bets together. You choose a number of teams and tie a few of them together in a parlay.
I.e. an 8 line bet includes 8 teams and if you tie 3 together, then your round robin includes wagers on every combination of parlays between every three teams, a total of 56 separate parlay bets.
Futures are bets on an event where the outcome won’t be known until a future date.
They are often bets on events that won’t be known until the end of a season such as a bet on who will win the league.
You can use futures bets to wager on which teams might make the Super Bowl, or which players will make the finals of the Wimbledon tennis championships.
In-game betting is something only possible with reliable real-time game data. The big sports betting operators have this at hand so can quote odds that change rapidly.
In-game bets are made after a match has started. You don’t have to pick the winner before the game starts, you can wait and see how the teams perform before placing your bet.
Of course, the sportsbook operator is studying the form too, so the odds change as the game progresses. If you have bet on one team to win and the play is going against them, then you can place an in-game bet to protect your losses.
Other in-game bets available might be on the score at the end of a quarter or which player will score next.
These bets make watching games a lot more exciting and have become enormously popular wherever they are legal.
What is cashing out a bet early?
One great new feature of modern sports betting is closely related to in-game betting. Many operators now allow you to cash out a bet early whether you look like winning or losing.
If a game starts and your team is playing below par, you can cash out your bet before the end of the match. You won’t get all your money back, but you’ll get a proportion based on the probability of your bet winning when you request the cashout.
On the other hand you can lock in your winnings if your team is ahead. If you are worried about a final quarter comeback by your opponents, can you pocket most of your winnings early.
What companies will be offering sports betting?
Not all the top sports betting companies will be coming to New Hampshire. The new law limits mobile sports betting licenses to five and there will be only 10 retail sports betting locations.
So far DraftKings is the only operator to be selected to operate in New Hampshire. In total 13 operators submitted bids, six wanting a mobile contract and all 13 looking for a retail sports betting deal.
The system is somewhat opaque but successful bidders will be based on qualifying scores over a range of factors including how much of their revenues they are prepared to contribute.
The initial bidders were:
- Crown Gaming (DraftKings)
- ROAR (MGM/GVC)
- IGT/William Hill
- Churchill Downs/BetAmerica
- Addison Global
- Boston Billiards
Intralot operates the state lottery and was hoping to get the first mobile contract.
Further bidding rounds take place so a final list of who will operate what will not be known until early in 2020.
Are there new sports betting taxes?
No, New Hampshire is not introducing new sports betting taxes. The state is introducing a system where the authorized operators share their revenues with the state.
The first winning bidder, DraftKings agreed to share 51 percent of its mobile revenues—assuming it had a monopoly, and 40 percent of its retail revenues.
Sports bettors will not be paying any extra sports betting taxes directly.
Who is the New Hampshire sports betting regulator if I have a problem?
Sports betting will get its very own regulator according to the new laws in New Hampshire. The law directs the New Hampshire Lottery Commission to create a Division of Sports Wagering.
The new Division will be the go-to guy for all matters pertaining to sports betting regulation but will not be open to the public until closer to the launch in early Spring.
I bet at an offshore site. Should I move to a New Hampshire regulated site?
There are some very good reasons to stop playing at an illegal offshore sports betting site:
- In the regulated market your money is safe. There are protections against fraud and legal recourse if anything goes wrong.
- If you win you know you will get your winnings, this can’t be guaranteed when you bet offshore.
- Legal sites aren’t run by terrorists or organized crime. You don’t know who owns an offshore site or where your money is going.
- In-game betting is almost absent from offshore sites. Illegal sites don’t have access to the legal data sources that legal sites do. That means they can’t offer the same range of bet types or often sports as the legal operators.
- Legal sites monitor your betting for indications of problem gambling. If they see anything to give concern they will email you and point you in the direction of help.
If you get better service and legal protection at a state regulated site that offers excellent odds and better betting options why bother playing illegally?