Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has worked as a writer and editor more than 20 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee and a current member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame voting panel.
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New Hampshire officially introduces mobile sports betting via DraftKings
30 December 2019
By Gary Trask
MANCHESTER, NH -- On a classic, wintry New Hampshire afternoon, Governor Chris Sununu, wearing a navy blue “Ski NH” jacket and wide smile, pulled out his iPhone in front of a large crowd gathered at Shoppers Pub + Eatery in Manchester and did what many thought would have been virtually impossible as little as 19 months ago.
He had already dutifully downloaded the DraftKings Sportsbook
mobile app and made his deposit. And, despite an ugly loss the day before by the New England Patriots, the governor was hell bent on making the first sports bet placed in the Granite State to be on the local NFL team to win the Super Bowl.
As he announced he was going to plunk down $20 on the Pats at 12-to-1 odds, Sununu was quickly goaded into upping the ante.
“C’mon,” yelled someone way in the back of the tavern. “It’s for the kids.”
The comment, referring to the fact that New Hampshire will receive 50% of sports betting revenue with a portion of it supporting education, drew a huge laugh from everyone, including the governor.
With a quick tap of the delete button, Sununu made it official and wagered $82, explaining he’s the 82nd governor of the state. If Tom Brady and Company can manage to win another Super Bowl, the governor will collect $982.
Standing nearby watching history be made with an even wider smile on his face was DraftKings
co-founder Matt Kalish, who was thrilled to see this day become a reality more than a month quicker than expected, not just because of what it means to his company. Kalish is also a native Merrimack, NH, about 12 miles south of where he was standing on Monday afternoon, so planting the DraftKings
flag in the Live Free or Die state was especially gratifying.
“We really wanted this deal bad,” he admitted to Casino City. “Not only because I’m from here and our headquarters are in Boston. But unlike a lot of our biggest competitors, we made our product in America and we take a lot of pride in that. We think we built an amazing product for the American fan, so we want to make sure were winning the deals in our backyard.”
Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the federal law
that essentially limited sports betting to one state for the last 25 years back in May 2018, many states have flirted with introducing a legal and regulated sports betting product. So far, 14 states have pulled it off, while multiple others -- most notably nearby Massachusetts -- have not.
Not only was New Hampshire able to get it up and running in time for the NFL playoffs and March Madness -- two of the biggest events on the annual sports betting calendar -- but it did so in relative lightning-quick fashion.
In July 2019, Governor Sununu signed the legislation, which will also be allowed through as many as 10 physical sports book locations, and DraftKings’ contract with the New Hampshire Lottery was approved in late November by the Executive Council.
“Nothing happens very easily in the New Hampshire legislature, but for the right reasons,” Governor Sununu said. “You never want to do anything too rash, but this is something where people understood it, thought about it carefully, and made the decision to get it done.
“Were going to be setting the gold standard for this type of betting product all across New England. People are going to say, ‘How did those guys do it so fast and so well?’ Until all the other states get on board we’re going to take advantage.”
Added Kalish: “Politics can be tricky. But here there was really a commitment across the board, from the governor to the legislators to the lottery. Everybody was on the same page. They knew what they wanted and when they wanted it. And they created a really good atmosphere to get it up and running.”
The DraftKings app only works within state lines. Bettors must be 18 years of age or older (the minimum age in many other states is 21), and wagers can be made on professional and college sports, but not on New Hampshire collegiate teams or any college events taking place within the state.
According to reports, sports betting is expected to produce an estimated $7.5 million for education in fiscal year 2021 and $13.5 million by 2023.
DraftKings Sportsbook also offers mobile and retail betting in Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Before closing out his remarks, Sununu put his marketing hat on and encouraged folks to cross the border and start placing bets.
“All you need to do is get 100 feet over the border and this app snaps on,” he said as he raised his iPhone high in the air. “This is an amazing opportunity. Come on over the border and you can get your liquor at a much cheaper price than in Massachusetts and then you place your sports bets.”