As the decade comes to an end, on era in New Hampshire has just been born. On Monday, legal sports betting went live in the Granite State.
Governor Chris Sununu was the first to place a wager, using the DraftKings mobile app. Naturally, considering his constituency, he bet $82 on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. He was originally going to bet $20, but the crowd at Shoppers Pub + Eatery in Manchester cheered for him to risk more.
DraftKings was chosen from a pool of 13 applicants to be the state lottery’s official sports betting partner. The selection was made in November, so this was an extremely quick turnaround in getting everything up and running. The original projection was early 2020. The company was awarded a six-year contract and is eligible for a couple two-year extensions.
51 percent of DraftKings’ gross gaming revenue from mobile betting will be handed over to the state government.
“….I think that will be something that really fills the coffers in New Hampshire and we’re going to do what we can to make that number as big as possible,” DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish, a New Hampshire native, told the New Hampshire Union Leader.
DraftKings will also operate as many as ten retail sportsbooks. Those are expected to open sometime during the first half of 2020. New Hampshire will get half of the retail gross gaming revenue.
Six cities have already been chosen for retail books (alphabetically): Berlin, Claremont, Franklin, Laconia, Manchester and Somersworth. The specific locations have not been determined yet. The first four venues will be selected by February 1st.
The lottery itself will oversee another form of limited sports betting at existing retail lottery locations. Intralot has been contracted to operate that product.
Some have criticized the lack of competition, saying that DraftKings should not be the only sports betting provider in New Hampshire. Governor Sununu sees their points, but disagrees in this situation.
“I’m a big believer in competition, but in this instance, we’re going with the best vendor in the country that is giving a financial opportunity that no one else even came close to for the state,” Sununu told the Union Leader. “It was a win-win-win for everybody.”
He predicts that the state could rake in $10 million from sports betting in 2020. That might not sound like much, but consider that the lottery put $106.5 million into the state education fund in the 2019 fiscal year and that was the best lottery sales year ever.
New Hampshire and Rhode Island are now the only two New England states with legal, regulated sports betting. Sununu said that this is just the beginning:
This is just another piece of the pie as to where New Hampshire is going. We’re not about big government. We’re not about limiting opportunity. We’re about creating economic opportunity. We encourage everyone to come in and take advantage. We’re going to have a great product and we’re going to own the New England market.
“Until other states get on board, we’re going to take advantage. Come on up.”