One area in which the state is ahead of the curve is in DFS gaming, with daily fantasy in New Hampshire freely available and legal.
Governor Chris Sununu allowed the new legislation, citing “the relative knowledge and skill” of DFS as his reason for legalizing New Hampshire daily fantasy while other forms of gambling, such as poker and online casino gaming, remain outlawed.
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There is a mixed view of gambling in New Hampshire, with some aspects of the industry readily allowed and others strictly prohibited. There is licensed horse racing in the Granite State, and charities can conduct their “games of chance” if it raises funds for the cause at hand.
For many years, there were explicit statutes and laws that made certain acts illegal. The New Hampshire Gambling Regulatory Oversight Authority was responsible, and laws dictated it a misdemeanor for anyone to allow gambling on their premises (commercial or at home), own a gambling machine or gamble anything of value for personal gain.
But that all changed in 2016 when a relaxing of the law saw a number of casinos and entertainment venues open in the state, and today there are 10 such establishments for the people of New Hampshire to enjoy. These all donate a percentage of their profits to charitable organizations in the area, and aren’t considered to be commercial enterprises. Meanwhile, the Lottery Commission continues to regulate horse racing betting.
Online gambling in New Hampshire remains something of a taboo subject, however. In January 2017, lawmakers introduced a bill that would have legalized online casinos and poker. However, the bill was shelved in October 2017, and a similar proposal in 2018 was also defeated.
Beyound that, New Hampshire online gambling has never really been on the radar in the state, and while other forms of betting have been given the go-ahead, it would seem lawmakers in the Granite State are digging their heels in to keep commercial gambling from moving forward.
Though there are a few gambling destinations, there are no official licensed commercial casinos and none exist on tribal land either. This lack of availability extends to online activities too. For now, there aren’t any online casinos in New Hampshire—it’s as simple as that, with statutory regulations explicitly outlawing the ownership and running of gambling enterprises whether they are on the internet or in brick-and-mortar locations.
It’s the general opposition to games of chance, and wagering upon them, that leaves many supporters of possible New Hampshire online casinos pessimistic about the future.
Like many other states, the situation regarding online poker in New Hampshire is rather complicated.
There is no specific law prohibiting poker games played over the internet, but the wording of gambling legislation is such that New Hampshire online poker is presumed to fall under such parameters.
According to the statute, gambling is: “...risking something of value upon a future contingent not under one’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that something of value will be received in the event of a certain outcome.”
Does online poker fall under this category? That is an area for legal minds to debate. Regardless, there are no legal online poker options available until lawmakers take action.
You can place a bet on the horses in New Hampshire; the race tracks that remain in the state take wagers via their simulcasts of live races from other states.
But that is the extent of sports betting in New Hampshire, with other sports-related gambling on baseball, hockey, football and other are still prohibited.
Of course, with the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), it will be interesting to see if efforts are made to alter the New Hampshire sports betting landscape.