Granite State Still Fighting for Casino?

Rockingham Park

Could This Be The Last Chance for a Casino Site in New Hampshire?

If you got knocked down in a fight 8 times,  would you get up again for another round?

Apparently you do if you are a proponent of casinos in New Hampshire.

Lawmakers in New Hampshire’s House have voted down a two-casino bill by a vote of 173-172, according to the Union Leader.  It was the third time in two years that a casino proposal has fallen by the wayside in the state. There’s still hope that it will soon be “reconsidered,” the report said.  The question is why?

Well, first off, losing by one vote in the House is not a resounding defeat. Remember, past history shows the Senate usually votes casino bills in before passing it to the House, only to be defeated.

And then, there is the dire interest in Salem, NH.  Nowhere is the battle over casino gambling in the state more keenly felt than in Salem. Not famous for witches here, that’s in Mass.  But it is known for it’s history as a once vibrant thoroughbred racing venue.  Heck, Sea Bisquit ran there in 1935!  But since 2010, it has been the site for only simulcasting – no live racing.

Rockingham Park has been seen as one of the likely landing spots for a casino. With resort casinos nearing reality in neighboring Massachusetts, many proponents of New Hampshire casinos see it as a race against the clock.

While there is no guarantee that Rockingham Park would automatically get a casino gambling license if it were legal in the state, Las Vegas-based Millennium Gaming, Inc. has a plan for a $600-million-plus casino development at Rockingham Park that would include a hotel and entertainment venues. The company has estimated that the development would create as many as 3,000 construction and gaming jobs.

Millennium has an option to buy the track and the company has stated that it would bid for a casino license if the Legislature ever makes that a reality.

John Keller, WBZ-TV News’ Political Analyst, recently wrote a great commentary called “Missed the Boat On Casinos.”  He makes the point that “…the evidence continues to pile up that the casino pie is shrinking. Slots revenue at the Connecticut casinos is way off; Missouri, Indiana and New Jersey are slumping, too.”  Mr. Keller is raising a question for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission taking so long, but trying to “get it right.”

That pie consists  of Rhode Island’s expansion and success with table games, CT casinos consistent revenue decline, Maine’s successful casinos, and Massachusetts burgeoning casino industry.  Couldn’t the timing window be closing for New Hampshire as well?  Unfortunately for Rockingham and Salem, NH, that window could be closed already.


That’s all for now.



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