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Vermont leaders welcome advent of sports betting

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(The Center Square) — Finding a sportsbook willing to take a bet on the Patriots in Vermont is about to get easier, with the state gearing up to offer legal wagering on the games.

The Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery announced this week that online sports wagering will launch in Vermont on Jan. 11, with three sportsbooks authorized to start accepting bets through websites and apps on smartphones, tablets and other gadgets. They are DraftKings, FanDuel and Fanatics Sportsbook, according to the agency.

“We are excited to offer sports enthusiasts the ability to engage in sports wagering in Vermont with three of the industry’s top companies,” Commissioner Wendy Knight said in a statement.

Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican who started the push for sports wagering several years ago, welcomed the development and said it’s good to see the plan finally “come to fruition.”

“Vermonters and visitors alike will soon be able to access a regulated sports wagering marketplace, which will come with important consumer protections and generate revenue for the state,” he said in a statement.

Vermont lawmakers authorized sports wagering for adults 21 years and older in June and outlined a system to tax and regulate the multibillion-dollar industry.

The move to legalize wagering on games was in response to a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a federal law prohibiting sports gambling in nearly all states except Nevada.

At least 38 states and the District of Columbia have authorized betting on sports, with wagers collectively hitting a record of more than $57.2 billion last year.

Other New England states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, have legalized sports betting.

Supporters of the law say it will raise much-needed tax revenue for state and local governments and help eliminate illegal bookmaking operations.

In Vermont, state budget writers have estimated that the wagering could drum up between $2 and $3 million a year when the system first gets underway. That could increase to between $10 and 15 million dollars a year once the market matures, state officials say.

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