CLAREMONT — Five New Hampshire cities voted to allow sports betting retail locations, known as “sportsbooks,” to be constructed within their respective borders.
A lone question placed along the bottom of Tuesday’s municipal election ballot — not just in Claremont, but in nine cities across the state — was a yes or no question regarding the potential construction of a physical location for individuals to place wagers on the outcome of sporting events.
The question read: “Shall we allow the operation of sports book retail locations within the City of Claremont?”
The city of Claremont, along with Berlin, Laconia, Manchester and Somersworth, voted to permit the creation of physical sports book retail locations in their communities, according to the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.
Four of New Hampshire’s six largest cities — Concord, Dover, Nashua and Rochester — did not pass the measure.
For communities like Claremont that passed the measure — by a vote of 777 to 536 — the company contracted by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission would be permitted to open retail betting establishments in those cities. It is important to note that a vote yes does not ensure that a retail sports betting facility will be established in the city.
In July, Gov. Chris Sununu championed and signed into law House Bill 480, which legalized mobile sports betting in New Hampshire for individuals over 18 through physical retail locations, stores where lottery tickets are sold and via mobile phone.
The state has since begun conversations with both DraftKings and Intralot in regard to managing mobile and retail sports betting in the state.
“The state is currently in negotiations with DraftKings and Intralot to operate mobile sports betting and the up to 10 sportsbook retail locations throughout New Hampshire,” Maura McCann, director of marketing at the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, said in a phone conversation yesterday. “Once the negotiation is finished and the contract is approved by the governor and council by the end of November, the state will work with the cities that passed [the question].”
According to the law, New Hampshire can establish up to 10 retail sportsbooks.
The New Hampshire Lottery Commission expects to make mobile betting available throughout the state by January 2020, according to McCann.
In a surprise Oct. 18 phone call to WEEI, a sports radio station in Boston, Sununu elaborated that he told his administration: “‘Look, I don’t care how we do this, but we’re going to be fair about it,’ and I’m going to be placing a bet on Tom Brady and the over before this season is done.”
Tuesday morning, just as voting locations opened, Sununu tweeted: “Sports betting is the right bet for New Hampshire! I urge voters in Manchester, Nashua, Dover, Rochester, Claremont, Berlin, Laconia, Concord, and Somersworth to allow retail sports betting in their cities! #603Pride.”
Although the question was limited to cities yesterday, retail locations for sports betting is expected to be taken up by smaller municipalities around New Hampshire in March 2020.
Following Rhode Island’s 2018 decision to legalize sports betting, New Hampshire is now the second state in New England to do so.
The city of Franklin was the first to approve their city as a potential community for a sportsbook retail location one month ago on Oct. 1.
The following are the results for the ballot question by jurisdiction, according to individual city clerk polling and WMUR:
Berlin: Yes (862-369)
Claremont: Yes (777-536)
Concord: No (2,877-1,914)
Dover: No (2,547-2,053)
Laconia: Yes (1,561-1,480)
Manchester: Yes (9,549-8,348)
Nashua: No (4,730 to 4,665)
Rochester: No (1,488-1,439)
Somersworth: Yes (647-579)