Posted on: July 20, 2023, 08:36h.
Last updated on: July 20, 2023, 11:05h.
Regulators in Vermont this week approved rules for newly legal sports betting in the state, setting the stage for sportsbooks to pursue operations.
Vermont last month became the 38th state to legalize sports betting, and sportsbooks are expected to be operational by the end of this year or early next.
The Vermont Liquor and Lottery Department voted this week to approve sports wagering procedures establishing requirements for operators.
The department’s board of directors on Wednesday unanimously approved the procedures, but acknowledged that the document could evolve once the sports betting program gets up and running.
AML Clarification Sought
One area that requires clarification is anti-money laundering requirements, following a question from a BetMGM representative at Wednesday’s meeting.
The BetMGM employee, who didn’t give their full name, asked for additional guidance on a requirement for sportsbooks to “assure ongoing compliance with the local AML (anti-money laundering) regulations.” Given that AML regulations are typically set by the federal government, it’s unclear what additional local rules also could be applicable.
Lottery officials said they would have to check with the state Department of Financial Regulation, which consulted on that section of the provisions.
“This is a living document, so if that needs to be tweaked or changed, we can certainly come back with those changes based on their recommendation,” Board Chair Martin Manahan said.
The procedures adopted Wednesday are the fourth version of the document considered by the lottery board. The latest version included additional minor tweaks and typo fixes compared to a version that was approved on Monday of this week.
Board members acknowledged that additional changes may be needed in the future. But they anticipate being able to adapt to concerns as the process evolves.
The rules allow sportsbooks to accept wagers on professional and collegiate sports, esports, and virtual sporting events subject to authorization by the department. Betting isn’t allowed on events such as awards shows, youth sports, and regular season games involving Vermont-based universities.
Vermont hopes to attract at least two and as many as six sportsbooks to launch in the state, and several have shown some early interest in the process.
A handful of operators filed detailed comments on the proposed wagering procedures, including BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars Sportsbook.
Competitive Bidding Process
Sportsbook operators will be selected through a competitive bidding process, similar to how other contracts are awarded in the state.
Applicants will be judged on a number of criteria, including how much of their revenue they agree to share with the state. A minimum 20% revenue share will be required. But extra consideration will be given to companies that agree to share more with the state.
Sportsbooks will also have to pay a $550K operator’s fee every three years to be eligible to participate in the state.
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