Vermont’s Department of Lottery last week rolled out a 125-page Request for Proposal for sports wagering operators that will give preference to companies based in the state, that use products manufactured in the state, and that “demonstrate business practices that promote clean energy and address climate change.”
The regulator is mandated to award between two and six licenses for digital platforms and provided a rubric for how applicants will be scored.
The Vermont RFP also includes a section titled “Solidarity With the Ukrainian People” in which bidders are asked to check a box that indicates that no “goods, products or materials offered in response to this solicitation are Russian-sourced goods or produced by Russian entities.”
Bids are due by Aug. 28, and any questions from applicants are due to the regulator by July 31. The Department of Lottery will only accept emailed applications and will post a list of bids received by the due date.
Winning bids will get three-year contracts
According to the RFP, the length of a contract will be three years, operators must be already be licensed in at at least three U.S. jurisdictions, and they must be “full-service providers.”
As part of the RFP, each operator must include an estimate for adjusted gross revenue, how many branded websites would be used, a responsible gaming plan, a list of where the company is already licensed, a player-acquisition model, how long it would take to get to market, a detailed description of the operator’s integrity monitoring program, and a plan to maximize revenue to the state.
Applicants will be scored up to 1,000 points, with a maximum of 800 points available for technical requirements. The RFP includes a sliding scale of points based on the amount of revenue share it will give to the state, with a maximum of 100 points for a share 51% or higher.
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Only four other states have deals for a 51% revenue share — Arkansas, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. DraftKings in New Hampshire and Bally’s/IGT in Rhode Island have monopolies in exchange for the high revenue share, while major operators stayed out of Arkansas due to the high rate.
Here’s a look at the Vermont rubric:
Diversity plans required
According to the RFP, the regulator will initially qualify bidders and then may go back and ask qualified entities for their “best and final offer.” The new law requires a minimum revenue share of 20%, but operators are clearly encouraged to offer more.
Most of the 125 pages of the RFP are standard fodder around technical requirements, non-disclosure, and general forms. But Vermont’s regulator is also seeking information about workforce diversity and advertising and promotional plans, which have been key issues in other states that legalized or launched in the last 24 months.
On the topic of diversity, bidders will be required to share company policy and data surrounding demographics and how they will further “foster” diversity should they be awarded a contract. For advertising and marketing, bidders will be asked to share detailed information on how they will convert consumers currently using black-market sportsbooks to the legal market, as well as describe their affiliate partnerships, player-acquisition plans, and more.
Because Vermont lawmakers legalized only digital wagering, operators likely won’t have physical footprints in the state, but the RFP preference for those addressing climate change could present an opportunity for bidders to use suppliers based in Vermont.