Vermont Opens Sportsbook Bidding with Goal of Jan. 1 Launch 

Posted on: July 20, 2023, 05:08h. 

Last updated on: July 21, 2023, 09:40h.

Vermont regulators have opened the bidding process for online sportsbooks that want to set up shop in the state.

Vermont sports betting online gambling
Vermont this week began accepting bids from online sportsbook operators. Regulators hope to have operations up and running by January. (Image: Shutterstock)

The Request for Proposal regulators posted Wednesday afternoon marks the latest step in establishing a legal sports betting program. Bids are due by August 28, and officials hope to have the new operations in place by January 1.

Vermont’s sports betting law, which the governor signed last month, calls for the state to award between two and six sportsbook contracts. Betting will be available exclusively online, as the state has no brick-and-mortar casinos.

Competitive Bidding

Sportsbook licenses will be awarded through a competitive bidding process similar to that used to award various types of contracts in the state. The process is overseen by the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery, which has established a scoring system that takes into account a variety of factors, such as an operator’s track record and revenue sharing.

At least four operators are expected to file bids, judging by those who have participated in the regulatory process up to this point. BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars Sportsbook all submitted comments earlier this month on sports wagering procedures developed by the lottery commission.

“I’m excited that we have these well-established — considering how new the industry is — operators that are interested in participation in Vermont,” Vermont Lottery Commissioner Wendy Knight told in an interview.

Bid Requirements

The 191-page RFP outlines the requirements for potential sportsbook operators and the detailed application process. Contracts will be awarded for three years, with the option to renew for up to two more years.

Bids will be evaluated on a 1,000-point scale, with scores based on a variety of technical and revenue categories, including a company’s financial stability, ethics, software quality, compliance, and responsible gaming program.

Operators must pay a $550K operator fee and agree to a minimum 20% revenue-sharing requirement. Additional points will be awarded to companies that agree to additional revenue sharing up to 50%.

Vermont is requesting detailed bids that include estimated revenue projections, details on the company’s background with other jurisdictions, its advertising plans, and a responsible gaming program, among other requirements.

One of the goals of the sports betting program is to generate as much money as possible for the state. As part of their bids, sportsbooks must submit a “plan for maximizing sustainable, long-term revenue for the State, including a detailed market analysis.”

Knight said she hopes to have a decision on which bids will be selected by the end of September. That will launch a negotiation process that likely will take another couple of months to complete, in time to have betting in place by January.

That puts Vermont on a slower schedule than Kentucky, which also legalized sports betting this year and expects to have its program running by the start of the NFL season.

Still, bettors should still be able to get in on some postseason action.

“We’ll get it up and running in time for the Super Bowl,” Knight said.