New Hampshire is making progress in terms of sports betting. On Tuesday, the city of Franklin became the first in the state to approve in-person sports betting.
To many residents of New Hampshire, this isn’t the biggest news considering the city of Franklin has a population of just under 9,000 people. The town is southwest of Vermont, east of Maine and north of Massachusetts.
Franklin is just under 40 miles north of the biggest city in New Hampshire, Manchester. It is 20 miles north of Concord and 54 miles north of Nashua, two other large cities in the state.
The location is convenient for many, though, with the New Hampshire Motor Speedway about 18 miles away from Franklin.
The votes came in at a 3-2 margin (527-354), but there was some misunderstanding from many following a key question on the ballot presented: “Shall we allow the operation of sports book retail location within the city?”
Franklin residents hold their votes the earliest of any city in the state, so that is why they got to it first. However, a spokeswoman for the Lottery Commission told the Valley News that “it is up to those third-party vendors to decide where they operate.” That means that in-person gambling locations aren’t a guarantee for the city of Franklin just yet.
Governor Chris Sununu signed House Bill 480 into law on July 12. The bill legalized sports betting in New Hampshire and is expected to bring in $10 million for education funding during its first full year.
H.B. 480 legalized bets on professional sports and most Division I college sports for bettors 18 years old and older, though it also required that local cities and towns were vital to let voters approve whether a retail betting venue would open within its borders.
Additionally, no more than 10 retail sportsbooks will open in New Hampshire under the existing law, so the city vote is only to approve its application for hosting one.
On top of Franklin and recently added Somersworth, eight other cities have looming votes to legalize sports betting on Nov. 5 which includes Manchester, Concord, Nashua, Berlin, Dover, Laconia, Portsmouth and Claremont, according to the Lottery Commission.
“The N.H. Lottery has reached out to every city in New Hampshire to provide information about the implementation process,” Maura McCann, a spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Lottery told the Valley News. “In addition, the N.H. Lottery has offered to have a Lottery representative visit each city to speak about it further and to answer any questions.”
This process is gaining steam in New Hampshire and there are many cities and pockets in the state that will make their residents ready to spend their money. Whether that comes in Franklin which is already approved or in other states or mobile or online sports betting options, that remains to be seen.