New Hampshire Releases Sports Betting RFP, Seeks Established Platforms and ‘First-Rate’ Sportsbooks

Posted on: August 9, 2019, 11:52h. 

Last updated on: August 10, 2019, 11:30h.

Wednesday was a big day for companies interested in getting a share of the soon-to-open New Hampshire sports betting market, as the state’s lottery published its request for proposals (RFP) from interested vendors.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu speaks last month at the signing of the state’s sports betting bill into law. On Wednesday, Lottery officials released a request for proposals to companies interested in running mobile or retail sportsbooks in the state. (Image: New Hampshire Lottery)

The sports betting law passed by the state’s General Court in June and signed by Gov. Chris Sununu (R) last month allows the New Hampshire Lottery Commission to oversee mobile sports betting, retail sportsbooks, and a platform for the Lottery’s retail network.

In their submissions, companies can propose providing any combination of the three services. However, the Lottery indicated that bidders may only receive a portion of the work that they seek, as the commission may award one or more contracts from this solicitation. The law allows for up to five mobile applications.

Those bidders seeking the retail contract will need to list up to 10 locations for sportsbooks in the state. The commission must approve each location, and the proposed community must approve the plan by a local referendum.

New Hampshire has 13 cities and 221 towns. The towns hold their annual elections every March, meaning that’s when they would vote to approve of a sportsbook. Cities, however, hold their elections in November, which means they have less than three months to prepare the question for this year’s ballot.

“Due to the timing of these elections, the Lottery has informed the municipalities that have elections this fall that they will need to consider the issue of sports betting retail locations in their city during this election cycle or delay potential implementation until November of 2021,” the RFP document states.

RFP Details

In the RFP, New Hampshire states what exactly it wants from the winning company or companies. Lottery officials push the concept of single sign-on compatibility between the Lottery’s iLottery platform and a mobile sports betting application. Through June, more than 46,000 people have registered for an iLottery account, the RFP states. More than half of those registered have deposited funds into the system.

Sportsbooks, meanwhile, must be “first-rate entertainment venues with commercially appealing locations, atmosphere, and décor.” They can be standalone businesses or connected to “existing adult- centered retail environments” approved by the Lottery.

In this solicitation, the Lottery isn’t seeking pricing information. Instead, Lottery officials are looking to identify the sports betting vendors it considers the highest qualified. The companies that score the highest in their technical responses will receive an invitation to submit a price proposal and move on to the next phase of the solicitation.

Established Platforms Only

The RFP also indicates the Lottery wants to deal only with established brands. A requirement in the solicitation states that any company submitting a proposal for a mobile, a retail, or the Lottery contract must have a software platform already in use in a minimum of three jurisdictions.

Bad news for early-stage bizs looking to build operational bona fides,” tweeted Chris Krafcik, managing director of consulting firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, on Thursday,

Since the RFP has been released, state law dictates interested bidders cannot communicate directly with Lottery personnel involved in sports betting unless they receive permission from a designated Lottery point of contact. Lottery personnel, the RFP states, have also been alerted not to discuss the solicitation with any potential bidder unless a point of contact allows it.

The only way a company that doesn’t meet the established software requirement could possibly get that requirement removed is to submit a request to the point of contact. The Lottery did reserve the right to amend the solicitation based on feedback it received from bidders.

The Lottery must receive questions by Aug. 26.

The current deadline for RFP responses is Sept. 16 at 4 pm ET. The Lottery expects to invite select bidders for oral presentations during the week of Sept. 30, with pricing proposals due by Oct. 10. The Lottery hopes to make awards by Nov. 20, although the entire RFP timeline is subject to change.

New Hampshire is just the second New England state to pass a sports betting law, joining Rhode Island, which began taking bets last year.