New Hampshire Gambling Laws
Known for its libertarian motto, ‘Live Free or Die’, New Hampshire gambling laws are perhaps a little restrictive and at odds with the Granite State’s motto, and gambling in New Hampshire is generally regulated on in the following ways;
- Casino Games – Online Casinos and Land-Based Casinos are both illegal in New Hampshire, including Tribal Casinos. There are some very limited options (usually Bingo type machines) available at racetracks, charitable establishments and poker rooms. Luckily, Connecticut’s Casino resorts are nearby.
- Sports Betting – Other than Horse racing, Greyhound Betting & Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), at the time of writing, betting on sports is currently unavailable (for the time being). New Hampshire lawmakers are set to consider sports betting bills when the fall 2018 legislative session begins shortly.
- Online Gambling – Online Betting is a mixed bag in New Hampshire. It can be seen that gambling online extends to horse race betting, whilst New Hampshire has specifically outlawed betting online in online casinos or sports betting online at the moment.
- Live Poker – New Hampshire offers plenty of choice through poker rooms and tournaments at racetracks and bingo halls. Note – Social poker ‘home’ games are not legal in the Granite State.
- Online Poker – Not yet legal. A legalization bill for online poker and other forms of online gambling did not pass the New Hampshire State Legislature in 2014.
- Lottery Betting – A popular State Lottery exists in New Hampshire (the first state lottery in the nation!) plus access to inter-State jackpot lottery games.
- Charitable Gambling – New Hampshire State Law allows for charitable gaming which includes raffles, keno and bingo.
New Hampshire Gambling Age
Legal Ages for different forms of gambling in New Hampshire are;
- Lottery – 18
- Casino Games – 21
- Charitable Gambling – 18
- Horse Racing – 21
New Hampshire Gambling Tax
A flat gambling tax of 10% on all winnings has been effective in New Hampshire since 2010.
Sports Betting Laws in New Hampshire
Gambling on sports is as yet, not fully available in New Hampshire, although we are anticipating the state’s legislators may decide to allow some form of legalized sports betting in New Hampshire potentially sometime later in the fall of 2018 or perhaps in spring of 2019.
Land Based Sports Books
New Hampshire is expected to begin the debate on their sports betting laws in the fall 2018 session of the State Legislature.
Looking at the current situation in New Hampshire and gazing into our crystal ball, it appears that sports betting, if legalized may find its way initially onto the state’s race tracks, New Hampshire poker rooms and perhaps even charitable venues to begin with as New Hampshire does not currently have legalized land-based casino establishments.
Online Sports Books
For the time being, it appears that online sports books may struggle to find a foothold in New Hampshire. If there is a space for online sportsbooks in New Hampshire, it maybe in coexistence with the state’s online horse betting industry.
All states are evolving differently in the way that they are approaching the introduction of legalized online sports books and adopting new legal sports betting laws, so continue to watch this space for details as they develop.
Casino Gambling in New Hampshire
Although the Granite State bans commercial land-based casinos, and tribal casino gambling is nonexistent, New Hampshire is home to several ‘de facto casinos’ that have games like roulette, blackjack, craps and poker. These are typically small venues (located in small pubs and strip malls), with a few larger gambling establishments occupying the state’s now defunct racetracks, (a type of ‘non-racing-functioning racino’)
Casino-style gaming in New Hampshire was enabled through the use of a charity ‘loophole’ in the state’s laws. By “donating” 35 percent of their revenue to charity and partnering with charities, poker rooms and casino clubs are free under the law to offer any game of chance.
High-limit Las Vegas style action is generally not available (with the exception of poker) are usually capped at maximum $4 limits, although a new law that is extending betting limits to $150 is now coming into force in some poker rooms. However, even with the smaller wagering limits, the charitable casino industry in New Hampshire has thrived for more than four decades.
New Hampshire Online Casinos
New Hampshire has not yet implemented the introduction of legal online casinos.
However, the signs are positive that the legalization of sports betting will lead the way for online casinos to follow in the medium to longer term.
For online players more accustomed to more liberal online casino gambling laws, New Hampshire may feel a bit restrictive, however, compared to its near neighbor Vermont, the future outlook is far more favorable.
For now, it is true to say that while New Hampshire is a state where online casinos are effectively a “no-man’s land” in terms of legality, New Hampshire sure has its fair share of land-based table games and poker rooms to keep players winning in the short term.
Horse Racing Betting in New Hampshire
Horse Racing Betting is legal in all its forms (off-track betting, course/track side and online betting) for all residents of the state of New Hampshire (over the age of 21).
Whilst the states’ tracks all closed down for good in 2012, it is still possible to wager on simulcast races from the tracks and play bingo and other style charity gambling games.
Track Side / Off Track Betting (OTB) in New Hampshire
Track Side – New Hampshire is home to several former live racing venues that still accept wagers on simulcast horse races.
Off Track Betting (OTB) – The former live racing venues in New Hampshire effectively function in New Hampshire as the states’ official OTB agencies.
Online Horse Racing Betting in New Hampshire
All major horse racing online betting sites all accept customers over the age of 21 from New Hampshire and offer wagering on races throughout the U.S.A, and horse race betting on a global scale on races all around the world are all currently available.
Fantasy Sports Laws in New Hampshire
From its inception until the present day, Daily Fantasy Sports betting has long been exempted from US Federal legislation as it is deemed to be a contest of skill, rather than one of random chance.
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) are permitted in New Hampshire even though the legal status of the games has never been affirmed in the positive by any state legislation.
There is currently no legal impediment to DFS players who want to take part in contests in New Hampshire, despite there being no law administering this betting type on the books all major DFS operators all accept players from New Hampshire.
How DFS works
DFS betting is unique form of sports betting and it’s quite unlike traditional ‘straight’ sports betting for a win or a loss. In order to play in a DFS league, you keep to a virtual salary cap which you use to ‘spend’ and draft players into your DFS team, all the while of course, keeping under your team’s assigned ‘budget’.
Using the example of an NBA DFS league for example;
The idea is to assemble a team that amasses the most points, rebounds, assists and other key statistics each week or over the season. In an NBA DFS league, participants can choose a new fantasy NBA team each week: they invest a fixed amount of (imaginary) money, spending from that budget on a point guard, center, power forwards, 3-point experts etc., with each player coming with their own price tag, set internally by the fantasy sports businesses.
For example, a superstar point guard like Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors will potentially cost a lot more than a struggling Lonzo Ball of the LA Lakers.
By selecting and ‘paying’ for Steph Curry will potentially leave a DFS contestant with much less money to spend on other quality players for their fantasy team.
The major companies may possibly be pay out $1 million or more each week to the winners of the largest contests offered during the NBA regular season.
Great DFS players are excellent ‘budget balancers’. If you’ve ever watched and loved the hit movie ‘Moneyball’, you’ll love DFS.
All major U.S. sports leagues have a DFS competition running alongside during the regular season and usually through the playoffs too.
Poker in New Hampshire
Poker in New Hampshire runs exclusively out of the state’s highly developed Poker Rooms, readily available across the state. Whilst some types of licensed Poker are heavily promoted, legislated on and actively encouraged in New Hampshire, unlicensed Poker and other forms of unlicensed games are not.
New Hampshire has a total of 11 poker rooms offering more than 300 tables. In those rooms, it is perfectly legal to play different types of poker without fear of breaking any laws (including Pot-Limit Omaha, Casino Hold’em, Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Stud Poker, No Limit Hold’em etc.).
In New Hampshire, unlicensed poker, unlicensed roulette or unlicensed roulette (Stick to playing legally in the poker rooms as playing unlicensed ‘social games’ for money in your own home is actively discouraged), are all seen as forms of illegal and prohibited gaming and can theoretically be charged as criminal misdemeanors in New Hampshire (although no-one has ever been charged under the law).
Online Poker Laws
If you wish to play Poker legally in New Hampshire without fear of punitive punishment, New Hampshire Poker Laws point towards sticking to the Licensed Poker Rooms for the time being. The Poker Game of choice in New Hampshire poker rooms at the current time is the Pot-Limit Omaha variant and Casino Hold’em and No Limit Hold’em are both popular player’s favorite.
Online poker is still illegal in New Hampshire at the moment. However, as soon as we hear different, we’ll let you know.
eSports Betting in New Hampshire
In 2018, the U.S. Federal Supreme Court decided it was up to the states to determine their own legal status of gambling, changing the landscape of gambling and sports betting across the United States. In the very near future, eSports betting may very well lead the way as it has done in some other U.S. states as the sport that leads the way for other legal sports betting to follow, across the state of New Hampshire.
In a very short period of time, eSports has efficiently and effectively transformed highest-level of video game play into a full-time professional sport. The best players have already signed multi-million-dollar contracts with huge budget professional teams. Rather than being an individual sport, eSports are mostly played in the team format in tournament play. However, the top individual eSports athletes have developed massive followings worldwide and their contrasting styles of play are loved by their fans the world over.
The electronic games themselves are roughly equivalent to different sports types. For example, in eSports, the games Overwatch, League of Legends and Dota 2 are equivalent to, say, NBA, NFL and MLB. eSports is the overall concept, while the different electronic game types are equivalent to the different types of sports.
Betting on eSports is now big business. Global sportsbooks offer a range of betting markets across all the major eSports tournaments and formats, and the worldwide amounts bet on eSports are growing prodigiously each year.
eSports is the highest-level competition in gaming today, with millions of fanatical fans across the globe, and the best players in the world taking part and this year the revenue of the industry is expected to top the $100 billion mark.
Who Knows? Your first visit to a legal New Hampshire sportsbook may be to place a wager on eSports.
History of Gambling in New Hampshire
Although online gambling was stripped away from a previous legalization bill in New Hampshire, the ‘times-are-a-changing’ and if revenue raising options continue to be seriously encouraged (as they seem to be), it would seem that a re-think on current gambling legislation is close at hand.
Check out our timeline for landmark dates in the interesting history of gambling in New Hampshire;
1933 – Betting on Horse Racing was approved in New Hampshire. These days its possible to enjoy simulcast betting on other states and worldwide at Racinos and online in New Hampshire. Charitable Gambling also introduced in 1933.
1964 – New Hampshire State Lottery begins, the first in the United States.
1971 – Greyhound racing was legalized in New Hampshire, although it has since declined and appears to have been halted for the time being.
2010 – New Hampshire’s 10% tax on gambling winnings introduced.
2012 – Last Live Horse Race took place in New Hampshire.
2014 – Several Bills introduced to State Legislature, none of which have yet made it into the State Legislature including;
- Casino Legalization (including 6 large land-based casinos and a 5000-slot land-based casino).
- Online Casino Legalization.
- Changes to existing charitable gambling laws (still alive in the State Senate)
- A Bill to include Poker as a Game of Skill
Fall 2018/Spring 2019? – Given New Hampshire’s State Legislature tabling a debate on online sports betting in the fall of 2018, it appears that fully legalized sports betting will soon be available to all the state’s residents, and maybe online casino legislation will come along for the legalization ride at the same time or shortly thereafter.