The state of Vermont bans most forms of gambling, including land-based sports betting.
The Vermont Legislature has no pending bills related to sports gambling, and government action seems unlikely in the near future.
"I don't know of anybody who is pushing for this in Vermont," said Danny Rachek, executive director of the Vermont Lottery.
The Supreme Court decision in May 2018 cleared the way for U.S. states to implement sports betting laws. Some have already passed them and are in the midst of regulating the sports betting industry. Other states — like New Jersey — have already opened the doors where residents can bet on all the action in the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL.
Betting Laws in Vermont
More than 600,000 people live in the state of Vermont. Montpelier is the capital, while Burlington is its largest city with more than 42,000 residents.
Vermont gambling laws are regulated at the state level. The state allows tribal casino gaming, but there are currently no recognized tribes in Vermont. The state bans gambling activities, the possession of gambling equipment including slot machines, and efforts to organize gambling in a place of business or elsewhere, but the major exception is for non-profit organizations.
All legalized gambling within Vermont is limited to the following areas:
- Horse racing
- Pari-mutuel wagering
- Daily fantasy betting
- Charitable gambling
There are no commercial or tribal casinos or racetracks in Vermont. There are actually very few forms of gambling within the state. VT residents must be at least 18 years old to play the state lottery or charitable bingos.
There are no land-based casinos in the Green Mountain State.
Electronic state lottery terminals that offered lottery tickets and a small variety of lottery-style video games were installed in bars across the state in a 2015 pilot project. They were removed when the state made them illegal about a year later.
Vermont residents who like to gamble in land-based casinos must travel across state lines. The nearest big cities are Montreal in Canada to the north and Boston in Massachusetts to the southeast. The Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort tribal casino in New York is among the closest casinos to Vermont’s largest city. It’s about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Burlington.
In 2015, State Rep. Ronald Hubert introduced legislation for the sixth straight year to allow the possibility of a casino in Vermont. For almost a decade, he has pushed the idea that a casino could increase state revenues. However, none of his proposed bills have ever come out of the committee stage. So, like sports betting, it does not appear a land-based casino will be coming to the state any time soon.
Pari-mutuel gaming has been legal in the state since 1959, but there are no longer any racetracks in operation. At one time, the Vermont State Fair in Rutland held a short racing meet, but Green Mountain Park in Pownal was really the state’s only true track. It opened in 1963 and held thoroughbred and standardbred horse racing events for four years. It then replaced them with greyhound racing. The track closed in 1992.
The Vermont Lottery, established in 1978, includes scratch tickets, a tri-state game and national games Powerball and Mega Millions. Revenues from the lottery help support the state's education fund.
Non-profit organizations are permitted to hold lotteries, raffles and other games of chance in order to raise funds for charitable, religious, educational or civic purposes. Even non-profits are limited to a set number of events each year and must comply with specific restrictions on using funds and reporting them to state authorities. Political parties are also permitted to hold raffles to raise funds.
Daily fantasy betting
A bill was signed into law in June 2017 legalizing and regulating paid-entry fantasy sports.
“More than 100,000 — and growing — fantasy sports fans can now breathe easy, as the state has made it crystal clear: fantasy sports are welcome in Vermont," said a joint statement from the top fantasy leagues.
The final bill instructs the government's executive branch to come up with a tax rate for fantasy sports revenue in the state.
Vermont Sports Betting Laws
The sports betting industry is quickly spreading across the nation after decades of Nevada having a near monopoly. Cash-strapped states looking for innovative new revenue sources are starting to see the sports betting market as a realistic way to generate additional funds. This is similar to the change in attitude towards land-based casino operations and online gambling.
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But not in Vermont. Past efforts to sanction or expand gambling, including sports betting, have fallen flat in the state.
There are still options for VT residents and visitors, however. Many have already joined the top-ranked online gaming site Bovada. No other platform offers more betting options on every sport played around the globe than this offshore sports book.
Favorite Sports Teams in Vermont
This northeastern state is best known for maple syrup and its massive forests which cover the majority of the area.
It has no major sports teams to call its own, but it is only a three-hour drive to Gillette Stadium to watch the New England Patriots or a five-hour trip to cheer on the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Vermont does have a few minor league and semi-pro teams along with three auto racing tracks.