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Sununu Lays His Money Down, As Sports Gambling Goes Live in N.H.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

With an $82 bet on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl, Chris Sununu, the state’s 82nd governor, helped launch sports wagering in New Hampshire on a snowy Monday afternoon.

During an event at Shopper’s Pub in Manchester, the governor, along with executives from Boston-based Draft Kings, former Patriots star Rob Ninkovich, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, celebrated the launch of online gambling.

“It’s that easy,” said Sununu, holding up his phone to show his bet on the Patriots, which at current odds would return him close to $1,000.

The Legislature cleared the way for online betting and up to 10 in-person gambling parlors statewide, with local municipalities getting a say on whether they want to host a facility. Once those parlors are open, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission expects to generate $10 million in revenue in the first full year. Under its contract with the state, Draft Kings will share half of the revenue generated from sports gambling.

New Hampshire and Rhode Island are now the only two New England states to offer sports wagering, with Massachusetts lawmakers still debating if and how to bring betting to that state. 

“We are going to be setting the gold standard for this type of betting product, all across New England, and I think, frankly, the country,” said Sununu. “People are going to look at what we did, how we did it, and people are going to say, we want that.”

To place a bet online, gamblers must be 18 or older and also must be physically located within the borders of the state. Betting on New Hampshire’s college teams is prohibited, while most other collegiate and professional sports will be offered through the Draft Kings sports book.

The legislation passed earlier this year also called for an increase in the size of the state’s gambling addiction services. (The problem gambling hotline is 603-724-1605.)

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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