New Hampshire lawmakers mull online gambling legalisation

News on 23 Aug 2017

Unexpected reports from the state of New Hampshire have raised hopes that online legalisation is still being seriously considered by the granite state, which just two months ago approved online lottery activity – the fifth US state to do so.

The bill in question, H 562 was first introduced in January this year (see previous report) but appeared to languish at committee stage after a brief hearing in the month following its introduction, and it dropped off most observers’ radar screens until this week.

Then news broke that a new hearing on the bill has been scheduled for September 6, rekindling interest at the prospect of the measure progressing further.

The content of the bill is sketchy, prompting several observers to characterise it as a place holder to be filled out following discussion and debate in committee.

What it does say is this:

“This bill exempts gambling done over the Internet from gambling offenses under RSA 647. The Department of Justice to date has neither investigated nor prosecuted online gaming offenses and therefore does not expect this bill to have any impact on expenditures.

“To the extent this bill legalizes a form of gambling, it may have an indeterminable impact on lottery and charitable gaming revenue. Lottery and charitable gaming revenue is credited to the lottery fund, with net revenues after Lottery Commission expenditures being credited to the state education trust fund.”

The lack of content has triggered some speculation that the sponsors of the bill may have in mind opening the state online gambling licence process to operators from outside the state, or that control of any legalised online gambling may be handed to the state lottery.

However, until more specific details are known this remains speculation.

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