Vermont, like many other states, is struggling with budget finance issues as more and more businesses come back online. Vermont Senators approved the creation of a special committee that will study the sports betting industry.
After their findings are complete, the committee will present its findings to the Vermont Legislature. Vermont is one of the least populated states, with just over 600,000 people, right behind the least populated state, Wyoming.
Although it’s small, the state still has to deal with a reduced amount of revenue the state has collected due to a three-month pandemic shutdown. Vermont, like every other state, must deal with ways to generate revenue for state and city programs funded by the coffers of the state.
The newly-formed committee has a detailed list of criteria that they will be searching for when researching the pros and cons of legalized sports betting. The most important information the committee is tasked with is finding creative ways the state can tax sports betting.
“Taxing a gaming industry is why gaming gets the green light to begin with,” said a source.
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Bill On Table In Vermont To Legalize Sports Betting
Republican Governor Phil Scott has been pushing lawmakers to legalize sports betting since January of this year. A source on the Governor’s team said, “Mr. Scott is more anxious than ever to get the sports betting bill passed and usher in the revenue.”
Advocates, lawmakers and the Governor himself are all in a hurry to get Sports Betting Bill 59 passed into law. The Scott source said, “It’s not really a luxury now, or should we-shouldn’t we. We have serious budget issues, and if money isn’t raised to replace the lost revenue, programs will suffer.”
The committee being formed is looked at as a backup if the bill doesn’t get approval. The third and final reading of the bill is set to go before the Vermont Senate next week for a vote.
The consensus among lawmakers in the state is that it has about a 50/50 chance of being voted into law right now, even though the Governor is one of it’s strongest supporters. If the bill can pass the Senate next week, it will then go to the Vermont House for an official vote.
House Will Hear Entire Bill Before A Vote Is Taken
The rules in the Vermont House are that the entire rather lengthy Bill 59 must be read in front of the entire House before a vote can be taken. It has not been made clear whether the Senate and House members will be gathered in person to take the vote or if it will be done virtually.
There have been some emergency meetings that lawmakers have been doing on Zoom. A decision on how the sports betting bill vote will be taken will be made on Monday.
There have been rumors circulating in Vermont that the Vermont House doesn’t want to take up any arguments for new bills before the House recesses for the year at the end of June.
Governor Could Take Charge
Governor Scott has the authority to issue an executive order that would force the House to consider the sports betting bill. Sources close to the Governor say he is prepared to issue an order compelling the House to vote on the sports betting bill.
Other sources say that the House and the Senate are prepared to give sports betting the green light so that the new committee can commence with their work, and at least have a good chance of sports betting being up and running in early 2021.