Easy As 1-2-3 for A New Hampshire Casino

Since Massachusetts got into this casino business thing, it has had an influence throughout New England.  Yes, I know, stating the obvious.

Consider New Hampshire. Some would describe it as quaint, full of natural sites and American history, full of wood smoke, log cabins, maple syrup, plaid flannel jackets, with frugal, close-to-the-vest people who are to get to know well, but when you do, their are friends for life.  It’s a relaxing place for tourists with known better for it’s bed & breakfasts than it’s cities.

But even the little state north of the Bay State is getting the itch for gambling money to fill their coffers.  First, the New Hampshire Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 4-1 on to recommend passage of a bill that would once again allow the state to authorize casino gambling, this time with two casinos.  Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, a longtime backer of expanded gambling, said he added the second casino into this year’s legislation because of complaints that the 2013 bill would have created a monopoly for one casino developer/operator, mainly Millenium Gaming of Las Vegas who holds the option to purchase Rockingham Park.  (Millenium Gaming owns two Las Vegas properties off the strip – Rampart, near Red Rock in Summerlin and the Cannery Casinos, both off the strip in North Las Vegas and off Boulder Ave.  All three are successfully run casinos.)

The Senate’s bill called for 3,500 slots and 160 table games at the category 1 casino and 1,500 slots and 180 table games at the category 2 facility. Last year’s bill included 5,000 slots and 150 table games at a single casino and was defeated in the House.

Then, the House Ways and Means Committee, which killed last year’s bill,  held a hearing on the their proposed bill and three other gambling measures, something it never has done, namely, support proposed casino gambling.  Over 100 representatives in the state House of Representatives have signed on to a bill that would welcome one – and only one – casino to the state of New Hampshire. That’s more than half the number of representatives that would need to eventually vote for such a bill to pass the house.

In addition, the New Hampshire Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority, formed after last years killing of Gov. Hassan’s first attempt for casino legislation in the Granite State, recommended legislation that would license one casino with up to 5,000 video slots and 150 table games.

1-2-3…………….three parts that weren’t there last year, and more support in the House & Senate than ever before.

Many residents of New Hampshire feel a casino would “change it’s brand” as a tourist destination. However, in an article Katie Barlowe on Casino.org, Pat Griffin, a New Hampshire resident who had worked in advertising and marketing for the state’s tourism industry, pointed out that 41 other states have some form of casino gambling, and that hasn’t impacted most of their brands. “For instance, Colorado has 41 casinos, but is still known for its mountains and skiing. One casino, he said, won’t be the tipping point that changes what New Hampshire means to visitors. I actually give consumers, our visitors, more credit than that,” Griffin said.

One thing is for certain, Massachusetts has influenced more and more NH voters and politicians to consider added revenue that they would otherwise lose to the Bay State.  And while the parties involved can’t yet decide on how to spend the money, they both agree on one thing – they need it, they want it and they are not willing to let Massachusetts have that piece of their financial pie.

That’s all for Now.