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Vermont Underground Illegal Sports Betting Being Investigated

Unlike many other states, Vermont has still outlawed sports betting. This issue remains highly contentious in a state with many sports fans and is most likely the cause of some illegal activity. However, the ban on sports betting could very well be lifted in the coming months as Senate Bill 11 was passed in June of 2022. 

Vermont Underground Illegal Sports betting

This comes after renewed worry about residents coming under attack from unregulated underground bookies. It would seem that these illegal online bookmakers have one main aim: to steal and plunder as much as possible from unsuspecting Vermont sports fans who would love nothing more to make a wager on their favorite team. After thousands were lost to such a scheme, there is a new call on the state’s lawmakers to look into legalizing the practice of sports betting.

In the grand scheme, Vermont is slow out of the gates after the landmark US Supreme Court judgment of Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Here, the highest court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which was a federal law, violated the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Vermont’s closest neighbors quickly took to the idea of sports betting.

Senate Bill 11 main aim was to establish the potential benefits of sports betting for the Green Mountain State. After this Bill was passed, the Joint Fiscal Office released a thorough report on this topic. This report showed only one outcome: that sports betting will hold a massive financial benefit for Vermont.

The report is encouraging for the pro-sport betting lobbying groups. Legalizing sports betting in Vermont would bring tax revenue of up to $10 million for the state, depending on some details.  Naturally, it would also lead Vermont residents to not engage in illegal activities with unregulated operators, providing them more protection.

Sen. Michael Serotkin, chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs, submitted S.59, an act to create what is known as the “Sports Betting Study Committee,” in 2020. The Senate eventually approved the bill and it now finds itself in the Vermont House of Representatives. S.59 can be seen as the first big step in legalizing sports betting in the State of Vermont. The Committee is tasked to look into a few aspects of sports betting, namely: studies conducted from other states on the impact of sports betting as well as the laws regulating other states, the potential models for sports betting in Vermont along with their pros and cons, restrictions on bets, and the impact that sports betting would have on certain socioeconomic groups.

As good as all this may look for the pro-sports betting groups in Vermont, some work still needs to be done before the floodgates open for legal sports betting in Vermont. The state has until now been very conservative when it comes to any form of gambling. The only exception is the Vermont State lottery. Furthermore, it is not clear if sports betting will be given the green light in Vermont if online casinos will follow in its wake. Looking at other states, such as Tennessee, there has been a trend to legalize mobile sports betting without needing physical casinos. In such a scenario, we might see a proliferation of mobile sports betting apps being made available to the fans of Vermont who have been starved of (legal) sports betting for all these years.

With this new ring of illegal charlatans being uncovered within the underbelly of Vermont, there is a renewed call for the legalization of sports betting, and it might just be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Commissioner Wendy Knight of the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery made it clear:

“Right now, we are investigating an illegal gambling operation in Vermont where the players have lost tens of thousands of dollars. That wouldn’t happen in a regulated sports betting market.”

It seems that it will only be a matter of time before Vermontans can enjoy making their first legal bets.

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