Legislative Framework of Gambling Regulation in Portsmouth, NH

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Portsmouth is a port city in the state of New Hampshire with a population of a little over 21,000 residents. Gambling activities in Portsmouth are subject to state regulations that allow for several forms of wagering products, including charitable casinos, bingo, sports betting, keno, race betting, and lotteries. Continue reading to learn more about the recent regulations in the USA, and more specifically those in the state of New Hampshire.

Introduction of Regulated Sports Betting

Legal sports betting was introduced in the summer of 2019 after bill H480 was signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu. Governor Sununu was also the person to make the first legal sports bet in New Hampshire according to an ESPN report.

The cities of Claremont, Somersworth, Franklin, Berlin, Laconia, and Manchester voted in favor of retail sportsbooks while Rochester, Concord, Nashua, and Dover did not approve the sports wagering measure.

The newly enforced legislation paved the way for the creation of the Division of Sports Wagering, which regulates wagering on sports as part of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.

This enabled the state’s residents to gain access to legal brick-and-mortar and mobile sports betting via locally approved sportsbooks. State regulators announced their intentions to grant ten retail and five online/mobile permits via a competitive bidding procedure. Online casino games and online poker are still inaccessible to locals under the current legislative framework.

Regulatory Restrictions on Sports Betting

The provisions of bill H480 stipulate that New Hampshire residents can bet on sports with authorized sportsbooks as long as they are at least 18 years old. Live betting on events in progress is possible only online. The law prohibits locals from wagering on instate-collegiate competitions, however.

The restrictions on the number of operational sportsbooks might be lifted via forthcoming legislative updates, according to House Representative Timothy Lang, who sponsored Bill H480. The sports betting industry was officially launched at the end of December 2019.

New Hampshire residents, including people based in the city of Portsmouth, can now legally wager on approved online sportsbooks like DraftKings as long as they are of legal age, have a valid social security number, and are physically present within the Granite State. Sports fans from Portsmouth now have access to many different wager types, including pools, in-game betting, and teasers.

Only Charitable Casinos Are Allowed

One peculiarity here is that Portsmouth lacks any licensed commercial casinos, so obviously relying on land-based casinos as a channel for retail sports betting is not an option. That is why such wagering services are conducted under the patronage of the state Lottery Commission. Licensed operators must commit a specific percentage of their betting revenue to the state coffers. Some of the taxes go toward the funding of the New Hampshire Education Trust Fund.

As previously mentioned, commercial gambling is still unavailable to Portsmouth and New Hampshire citizens, in general. New Hampshire statutes, and more specifically, the Games, Amusements, and Athletic Exhibitions statute, state that games of chance may be conducted solely by charitable organizations under the authorization of the state authorities. Furthermore, there is a cap on the maximum number of organizations that may operate such activities.

No more than two authorized organizations can offer such games simultaneously within the same location. Only poker, table games like craps, roulette, and blackjack, and keno are available to locals. There are also restrictions on the maximum wagers and buy-ins for casino games and poker.

Maximum Bet Restrictions

The buy-in at the poker tables should not exceed $150 while the maximum per bet for the other table games is $10. Slots also belong to the category of chance games but are disallowed under local laws because they require machines to operate. This regulatory framework creates limited casino gaming opportunities for players from Portsmouth and other New Hampshire areas.

They have a choice from 16 charitable casinos in the towns of Conway, Nashua, Concord, Seabrook, Salem, Dover, Rochester, Belmont, Hampton, Manchester, Berlin, Keene, and Lebanon. Portsmouth has no charitable casinos at the moment of writing.

Racebook betting and lotteries are also authorized here. The Granite State is home to the first state-operated lottery in the United States, which commenced offering tickets in 1964. Residents also have access to online lotteries.

Judging by the general attitude toward gambling in the state, Portsmouth citizens should not expect to see any full-service casinos to commence operations any time soon. The same applies to offering remote casino games, which remain illegal across the entire state for the time being.

Editor’s note: This is a paid article.