Two New Hampshire seacoast communities could vote to authorize hosting 1 of 10 brick-and-mortar sports betting locations. Hampton and Seabrook will decide if they should be in the running for a DraftKings retail shop.
Hampton and Seabrook selectmen will be asking voters at March 10 Town Meetings if they want to “opt-in” to the plan that would allow sportsbook retail locations to be built. This vote was requested by Ocean Gaming at Hampton Beach and The Brook in Seabrook.
New Hampshire lawmakers officially approved sports gambling in July 2019, but the law did not go into effect until January. Immediately, the state has seen positive returns, as sportsbooks report an estimated $21 million changed hands during the month.The Draftkings-powered mobile sportsbook has dominated the market early on.
The selectmen from Hampton authorized voters to cast their votes on the initiative during a December meeting. This came after a group of cities voted against allowing sportsbooks to open in their communities. In fact, of the nine communities who have placed the initiative before voters, only five have granted approval at this point – Berlin, Claremont, Laconia, Manchester, and Somersworth. That leaves Hampton and Seabrook in a good position to be able to open one of these operations if voters should approve.
“We are looking to have (retail locations) up and running by hopefully the first part of this year and then be rolled out one at a time over the next several years,” explained John Conforti of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.
Even with a succesful vote, Conforti noted that nothing is guaranteed. “There are no guarantees that any specific municipality will be getting a location at this point in time,” he said. “It is merely the town providing eligibility, that they would welcome the establishment if both DraftKings and the Lottery Commission find one they are willing to partner with.”
Local officials in the two communities believe that offering retail locations will help to boost revenues for such things as education and charitable donations. DraftKings signed a six-year contract with the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. That deal would pay 50% of the gross gaming revenue for mobile wagers to support education. These communities are counting on similar types of deals assisting them in improving education at the local level.