The bad news is that finding legal betting in most forms is just about impossible in Vermont. The good news – though not exactly great from our perspective – is that at least daily fantasy sports betting is one of the two forms of gambling legally permitted (the state lottery naturally is the other).
Betting in Vermont
Betting in Vermont has mostly been completely illegal since the first days of its statehood in 1791. Not even the 19th-century American craze for lotteries touched rural Vermont, and only in the 1960s (!) was the issue of gambling seemingly even seriously addressed in the Vermont legislature.
In 1962, Vermont lawmakers legalized horse racing and the concomitant pari-mutuel style of betting associated with sport. Green Mountain Park in Pownal, Vermont, was opened later that year. In ’63, harness racing was added so as to schedule events in autumn and winter. Only in 1968 did the legislature see fit to legalize Sunday racing as well. NO matter – by ’77, horseracing was finished at the park, and greyhound racing was illegalized in ’92.
One evolutionary step in Vermont gambling law was the introduction of a state lottery tickets in 1978, followed by inclusion in the Tri-State Lottery with Maine and New Hampshire in ’95. And in 2016, sports bettors were cheered by the Vermont legislature passing a bill making playing daily fantasy sports legal for state residents.
Football in Vermont
No universities in Vermont have “FBS” football programs – or football programs at all. The biggest school, the University of Vermont at Montpelier is far more well-known sports-wise for hockey, skiing and sailing that for anything involving a ball … much less an oblong-shaped one.
At the high school level, some adequate programs may be found in Vermont, though these hardly compare to such programs literally anywhere else in the U.S. In 2017, for example, MaxPreps.com ranked Vermont’s #1 team, the 11-0 St. Johnsbury Academy just *2,701st* nationally. Just three teams in the entire state played a schedule that was of above-average difficulty by MaxPreps’ reckoning, and these three teams combined for a 15-13 record.
As a result, Vermont has produced incredibly few pro players: Just 10 men born in Vermont have played professional football, and just six since 1931. Of these, just three – LB Scott Curtis, OT Bob Yates and LG Steve Wisniewski – played more than 28 games. Only Wiesniewski, who started in all but two games over 13 seasons with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders in the 1990s/early 2000s, had a career of any note among Vermonters; not one Vermont-born player has cracked the NFL since Wiesniewski.
On Sundays, most folks in Vermont root for the New England Patriots. Some fandom for the New York Jets and New York Giants is in evidence via the Big Apple’s transplants as well, although the state’s most famous ex-New Yorker, Bernie Sanders, is reportedly a Patriots fan.
Betting on football in Vermont
As stated previously, in terms of betting on football in Vermont, only daily fantasy is 100% legal. However, this state’s voters with a socialist outlook tinged with libertarianism and green ideology will make quite an interesting test case when/if certain New England states begin legalizing sports betting online. One would guess Connecticut and New Hampshire would be early to license internet sportsbooks and what lobbyist in Massachusetts wouldn’t want to be representing one of the city’s major sports franchises to decriminalize, thus paving the way for multimillion-dollar ad deals between sites and Celtics or ‘Sox?
You’d have to figure that freedom-loving Vermonters would welcome a little more tax income with no infrastructure-building required – After all, it’s why daily fantasy sports betting was codified so quickly, innit?