Claremont voters to decide whether to allow retail sports betting

Staff report
Friday, September 13, 2019

CLAREMONT — City voters will decide whether to allow a retail location for sports betting, which is now legal in the state under HB 480 that was signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu in July.

The council voted to put the question on the Nov. 5 ballot and will hold a public hearing on Oct. 9.

Under the law, the state will select 10 sports book retail locations. If Claremont voters approve retail sports betting, the city would not be guaranteed a location, but it would allow businesses to apply for one of the state’s 10 spaces.

If the city rejects the question of a betting location, residents could still bet on sports under the law but would have to do it online or travel to the nearest location.

“If you are interested at all, you should put it on the ballot,” New Hampshire Lottery Commission Executive Director Charlie McIntyre told the council.

Councilor Jonathan Stone said he supports the ballot initiative so the public can make the call.

“This is an opportunity to make their voices heard,” Stone said.

In a letter to the city, McIntyre also said if residents vote to allow a betting location and the lottery commission chooses a Claremont establishment, the city must grant that establishment approval before the commission will issue a permit.

McIntyre said the state estimates sports betting will earn about $10 million in revenue the first year, which will be used for adequacy aid for education.