CONCORD — The New Hampshire Lottery is reviewing proposals from 13 applicants hoping to run sports betting facilities in the Granite State.
Charlie McIntyre, the lottery’s executive director, said Monday that the proposals will be reviewed in the coming weeks; he hopes to have contracts finalized by the end of November. The first operations could be up and running by early 2020, less than six months after Gov. Chris Sununu signed the law opening the door to legalized sports wagering in the Granite State.
“It’s a very exciting time,” McIntyre said.
Applicants had until Friday to submit proposals to the New Hampshire Lottery, which will operate the program through a newly created Division of Sports Wagering, which was written into the new law.
The lottery issued a news release Monday announcing the total number of applicants, but said names of the vendors would remain confidential throughout the application process.
“We are pleased and encouraged at both the robust number of responses and the overall quality of proposals,” McIntyre said in the news release. “As the critical next step in the process, we look forward to reviewing each response carefully and thoroughly to ensure we can ultimately make the right decisions in launching a sports betting system that engages and protects players, while also driving crucial revenue for education in the Granite State.”
The new law allows for up to 10 licensed sportsbook venues and as many as five online operations. McIntyre said vendors could also apply to run more limited wagering through existing lottery retailers.
A former organized crime prosecutor, McIntyre said he is quite familiar with the illegal side of gambling. He said the state put together a thorough, comprehensive application process to bring in reputable vendors up to the task of launching New Hampshire’s first legal sports wagering operations.
“It’s a very high-level business. It requires a lot of financial experience in that area,” McIntyre said. “It’s folks that do it now on a significant scale. It’s not two kids and a laptop in their garage who think they can do sports betting because they’re really good at fantasy sports.”
McIntyre estimated that sports betting could generate as much as $10 million in revenue in its first year. The NH Lottery is coming off a record-breaking year, with more than $384.2 million in total sales, which provided more than $100 million for state education funding.
McIntyre said the lottery would carefully weigh the proposals, which required the vendors to outline their plans across a number of criteria, including economic development for the state.
The locations of the new venues are also still to be determined. The law also allows for cities and towns to approve any retail betting venue to be located within their community.
According to the lottery, cities that have already placed sports betting sales questions on the upcoming election ballot include Berlin, Claremont, Concord, Dover, Franklin, Laconia, Manchester, Nashua and Rochester.
McIntyre said many towns, which hold elections in the spring, have also expressed interest.
“We’re going to want them to be in places where they’re going to do the most good,” McIntyre said.
The new law requires bettors to be at least 18 years old. Wagering on New Hampshire college sports teams or games taking place within the Granite State is prohibited. The law also creates a Council for Responsible Gambling to promote the prevention and treatment of problem gambling.