Vermont – the Green Mountain – has a long history of limited gambling options. There are no casinos, hence Players tend to drive to a bordering State such as Connecticut or play online.
Fortunately online gambling is allowed in Vermont. Although not actually referred to in the law as being legal or illegal, residents of Vermont can therefore gamble at offshore online casinos. These includes games such as poker, blackjack, slots and other forms of gambling
- Bingo – Legal – Online Bingo is allowed and accepted by offshore bingo sites.
- Online Casinos could be regarded as illegal, however the laws do not specifically address online table games. Offshore casino sites do accept residents of Vermont.
- Daily Fantasy Sport – Legal? – There has been discussions in parliament regarding the legalization of DFS but it’s unclear as to whether Paid Entry Membership has been legalized. DraftKing and FanDuel continue to accept Players from Vermont irrespective of the ambiguity in the State law.
- Poker – Illegal
- Sports Betting – Illegal
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Vermont State Gambling Laws
If you are looking for a state with local gaming action, then unfortunately Vermont is not the state to be in. Vermont is the second smallest state in terms of population in the US (just over 600,000), and probably the second most restrictive gambling state.
Vermont land based casinos are against the law to operate whether commercial or native American.
The only exceptions are charitable games and the state lottery. However, the definition of charitable gaming does expand further than what most other states define charitable as. Charitable gaming includes bingo, lottery poker games and even some casino table events.
With limited gambling options, bingo then naturally is very popular in Vermont. You will find hundreds of bingo halls in the state, and even offshore online bingo sites accept Vermont Players.
Vermont also permits pari-mutuel gambling on horses. But, it’s a moot clause given that there are no horse race tracks in the state!
All other forms of gambling is prohibited, with the exception of online casinos. The law doesn’t specifically rule out online casinos as illegal, but neither does it call out its legality.
Sports betting remains illegal despite the overturning of the ban by the supreme court back in 2017. There have been small baby steps with the raising of the bill H36 to invoke a study into the pros and cons of sports betting. However to this day nothing has eventuated from this study. Sports betting maybe coming to Vermont, but it would require several years, so don’t hold your breath.
Unfortunately there are no Vermont casinos to review. All casinos, both tribal and commercial are banned from operating in the state. The state laws are quite explicit in this regard, and whilst there is extensive lobbying by many pro gambling organizations to legalize, it appears highly unlikely that any change will occur in the near future.
The Vermont Lottery was founded in October 1977 and was made legal in 1976 through a referendum. Proceeds from the lottery support Educational infrastructure and other public initiatives.
Games on offer include: Instant Tickets, Lucky For Life, Mega Millions, Powerball, Megabucks, Pick 3.
The minimum age to play any Vermont Lottery games is 18.
Unique to Vermont are break-open tickets. These tickets are similar to pull tabs or scratch tickets. You simply peel the tabs located on the face of the ticket to reveal any winning patterns.
Break-open tickets are so popular, that they raise more revenue than the Vermont Lottery! And this is what is concerning the government, because the distribution of break-open tickets leaves very little to transparency and accountability.
Controversy currently revolves around the monitoring and enforcing of the charitable requirement. Break-open tickets can only be sold by non profit organizations or by organizations that will pass on the proceeds to a charity. In other words, all monies raised through break-open tickets should eventually end up at a non profit or charity.
However, what regulators are discovering are that bars are partnering a charity but not all proceeds are being passed onto the charity. This is extremely concerning for the state, as it means, bars and other partners are potentially pocketing monies illegally – quite simply they should be charged for embezzlement. The quantum of this issue is currently unknown, which is twice as discerning.
The state has now changed the law to ensure that non profits and charities are held more accountable for the sales of break-open tickets, however, this has not been a smooth transition. Often non profits and charities do not have transparency as to what is being sold by their partners and winnings being distributed. Accounting for all sales is extremely difficult particularly if the partner lacks the co-operation required by the non profit.
The state is trialing enforcing non profit and charities to submit online gambling sales and winnings figures each quarter in an attempt to size the issue. In a years time, we shall see if it is working.
The few legal games that Vermont residents are permitted to partake in include: lottery, bingo and other charitable and social games. All other forms of gambling of deemed illegal including daily fantasy sports which is often considered in a grey area of the law. Having said that, DFS operators FanDuel and DraftKing continue to accept Players from Vermont, as do offshore online casinos sites.
A Lawyer’s Opinion
Vermont is a friendly state for online gamblers though few land-based opportunities exist except for charity events. No casinos are permitted within the state though many online options are permitted. See Vt. State Ann. tit. 13 §§ 2133-2143b; Vt. State Ann. tit. 31 §§ 601 et seq.
Sports Betting: Online betting on fantasy sports is legal in Vermont, permitting FanDuel, DraftKings and others to operate within the state so long as they follow the regulations on operation. General sportsbook making, however, remains prohibited. Individuals who wish to make online sportsbooks, thus, must do so through platforms operating outside of the state.
Race Betting: No land-based race betting opportunities exist in the state of Vermont. However, online betting is unregulated, and, thus, individuals may safely place wagers through a licensed domestic platform, including TGV and Twinspire.
Online Gambling: Online gambling, including participation in poker rooms, is not permitted in the state of Vermont. Thus, individuals wishing to participate in online gambling, including poker and other such games of skill, must place bets online through platforms operating outside of the state.
Online Gaming: Bona fide contests of skill are permitted through sites such as WorldWinner.
The information in this multi-state research is made available by a licensed, U.S. attorney, and is for informational purposes only. We make no representations that the information is complete or correct in its entirety. It should not be construed as providing specific legal advice, and you acknowledge that no attorney/client relationship exists between us. This brief should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed gambling and entertainment lawyer in your state.