Does New Hampshire Want a Piece of Online Gambling Action?Published February 21, 2017 by Elana K
Last month, Republican representatives Eric Schleien, Nick Zaricki, and Robert Fisher introduced a bill, HB562, which would decriminalize online gambling within New Hampshire.
We’ve been hearing rumblings about online gambling from Pennsylvania, New York, California, and others over the past few years, with many of these states going so far as to draft legislation and attempt to push it forward. New Hampshire, however, was not on the list of states that was even interested in discussing the subject - until now.
Last month, Republican representatives Eric Schleien, Nick Zaricki, and Robert Fisher introduced a bill, HB562, which would decriminalize online gambling within the state. After being introduced to the House, the bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, and was then given a public hearing at the end of January.
About the Bill
The funny thing about this bill is that it does not attempt to regulate online gambling, only to decriminalize it. Practically, this means adding online gambling to New Hampshire’s already existing list of types of gambling that should be illegal, but are given exemptions. It also means that people living in New Hampshire could play online casino games for cash, totally legally, but without any regulation. The bill doesn’t even include any provisions for the state to get taxes from online gambling.
Does The Bill Have a Chance?
The chances for HB562 being passed are slim to none, precisely because the bill wants to allow online gambling without the state reaping any benefits. If the bill’s sponsors want to have it proceed forward, they will likely need to make a number of changes, including licensing fees for online casinos, taxes to the state, and regulations to protect consumers.
Another Possible Outcome
If the sponsors can't make the requisite changes, perhaps the bill will be launchpad that other representatives need to take up the issue of online gambling, ultimately drafting legislation that has a fighting chance at being passed.