New Hampshire Gambling Laws


Posted: April 14, 2016

Updated: April 14, 2016

If you’re planning to gamble in the US, New Hampshire is not your ideal destination. New Hampshire gambling laws allow only for charitable gambling, pari-mutuel betting and a state-run lottery.

New Hampshire gambling laws

The definition of gambling is in the New Hampshire Criminal Code, which is already telling. Gambling in New Hampshire “means to risk something of value upon a future contingent event not under one’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that something of value will be received in the event of a certain outcome.” Gambling, the promotion of gambling, and assisting in such activities have different legal consequences, ranging from a fine to jail time.

New Hampshire gambling laws authorize charitable gaming by non-profit organizations. Even such games and events are under the strict control of the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority. Besides charitable gambling, New Hampshire gambling laws allow for pari-mutuel betting on horse races since 1933. Unfortunately, there are no live horse races at New Hampshire racetracks anymore, therefore betting is available only on simulcast races. Live dog racing was banned in 2010.

There were numerous attempts to loosen the restrictive New Hampshire gambling laws. Most of the relating bills were introduced between 2010 and 2015 and killed shortly after. The list of bills includes HB 1633, that would have allowed for a casino with 5,000 slots. SB 113 proposed for two casinos in New Hampshire but it was also blocked. One bill, HB169, has succeeded to raise the bet limit of poker at racetracks. Poker is legal under the New Hampshire gambling laws, but only if some of its profits go towards charity.

Online Gambling in New Hampshire

New Hampshire gambling laws don’t specify online gambling. However, the existing laws and definitions can be applied to internet gambling as well. For example, the definition of gambling machines can easily cover computers. “Gambling machine means any device […] which is capable of being used to play […] games of chance and which discharges money, or anything that may be exchanged for money.” Therefore, it’s safe to say that online gambling is not authorized in New Hampshire.

Lotteries in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Lottery is the oldest legal lottery in the United States. It was established in 1964 and since then its sales have grown to USD 276 million. From each dollar spent on lottery tickets 26 cents are used to aid the state’s education system. Currently, the purchase of New Hampshire lottery tickets online is not an available option.

Daily Fantasy Sports in New Hampshire

The stance on the matter of Daily Fantasy Sports in New Hampshire is unclear. Currently there are no bills seeking the regulation of the games. According to US gambling news, the state “follows a predominance test” to determine the levels of skill and chance in daily fantasy sports games.

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