CONCORD — Voters in five cities approved allowing sports betting locations within their borders and four communities rejected doing so Tuesday.
Manchester and Somersworth approved the ballot question as did voters in Berlin, Claremont and Laconia. The proposition failed in Concord, Nashua, Dover and Rochester.
The vote to approve in Laconia was just 51 percent, but sports betting received overwhelming support in both Berlin and Claremont, economically-challenged cities where residents may be more predisposed to backing potentially lucrative new businesses.
The vote to reject sports betting in Nashua and Rochester was very close. Voters in Keene, Concord and Portsmouth also turned down legalizing Keno at bars and restaurants.
The Keno question passed in Manchester and Rochester.
“The New Hampshire Lottery appreciates and respects the voting process in New Hampshire. With five cities voting to allow sports book retail locations, we can continue with the sports betting implementation process, developing a responsible system that engages players and drives revenue for education in New Hampshire,” said Charlie McIntyre, the agency’s executive director. “Further as two more cities have voted in favor of KENO 603, we are now able to continue expanding the game which has demonstrated consistent sales growth since its inception nearly two years ago.”
The New Hampshire Lottery last week announced its selection of DraftKings and Intralot as the vendors to provide sports betting services. DraftKings was chosen to supply the online service and support for sports book locations, while Intralot will supply and support lottery vending machines at retail outlets
Lottery officials said they expect to complete negotiations with the vendors by Nov. 20. The contracts then must be approved by the Executive Council.
“The New Hampshire Lottery has a responsibility to establish a sports betting system that is effective, efficient and well-regulated,” McIntyre said.
Governor Chris Sununu signed legislation in July authorizing the New Hampshire Lottery to conduct sports betting, which will be allowed through as many as 10 physical sports book locations and as many as five online sports books.
Franklin voters had already approved their city seeking one of the potential sports book retail locations during city elections Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Officials in towns that want to be locations for sports betting can place warrant articles up for votes during town meetings in March.
State lottery officials want to get the games off the ground in time for the NFL playoffs in January.
The sports betting legislation gives voters a say as to whether to allow sports book retail locations. New Hampshire towns will be able to include the question on their Town Meeting warrants next spring.
The sports betting legislation created a Division of Sports Wagering within the New Hampshire Lottery to oversee sports betting. The law allows wagering via mobile devices and prohibits wagering on New Hampshire college teams or any college games taking place in the Granite State. Players must be 18 or older to place a bet.