New Hampshire lawmakers, and sportsbooks, are seeing green. The state just officially launched sports gambling last month and, during its first full month of operations, sportsbooks reported a $20.8-million handle as gamblers began to pour on the bets. According to the New Hampshire Lottery, which is providing oversight of the activity, that handle led to sportsbooks being able to report a net profit of $1.2 million, thanks to the 27,000 individuals who jumped at the opportunity to wager on Super Bowl LIV, NBA contests and more.
The Granite State doesn’t have a casino presence, which made it much easier to launch mobile-based sports gambling. It is the second state in the New England region, after Rhode Island, to get in on the sports betting action, and first saw an online sportsbook go live when DraftKings flipped the switch on its operations on December 30 of last year. It’s been all uphill ever since.
In business, timing is everything, and being able to launch sports gambling just ahead of the Super Bowl was a smart business decision. However, contrary to what some may have expected, only 11% of the bets placed in January were for the NFL Championship game. That leaves a lot of other sporting events to carry the weight, which is good news. With the Super Bowl now in the history books, New Hampshire can be confident that other activity, including next month’s NCAA March Madness, will help keep the betting momentum going. New Hampshire’s sports gambling laws allow for college wagers, as long as they don’t target any state teams.
None was happier with the results in the state than Governor Chris Sununu. He, along with other lawmakers, had been a campaigner for the activity and what it meant to the state’s wallet, and said in a statement after the Lottery published the results, “The Patriots may not be playing in this year’s Super Bowl, but that is not stopping New Hampshire from winning big. There is no doubt that New Hampshire is already serving as New England’s go-to destination for sports betting, and we are just getting started.”
New Hampshire also benefited from other states with which it shares borders. Both Massachusetts and Maine are dragging their feet on introducing legalized sports gambling, preferring to see state residents continue to spend money elsewhere, and many of the 27,000 that hit New Hampshire to place bets came from Massachusetts. When, and if, the state legalizes sports gambling, it could reel in some of these gamblers, but, by then, New Hampshire should have an even more solid piece of the market. Maine isn’t much of a threat, because the state governor, Janet Mills, doesn’t quite grasp the concept in its entirety.