The New Hampshire House of Representatives is yet to approve expanded gambling, but you can’t Governor Hassan and others haven’t tried. With the possible repeal of the Mass Casino Law, yet another window of possibility opens in the Granite State.
It’s been long legislative fight – an on again, off again relationship about expanded gambling with residents and legislators. (If you want to skip the history lesson below and get to my prediction, just go to the end.)
Let’s reminisce – what has the path of casino expansion taken since it’s consideration in 2012:
- MARCH 28, 2012 – The New Hampshire House fails to pass House Bill 593, under former anti-gambling Gov. John Lynch, which would have brought expanded gambling to the state. The bill would have made it possible for a total of four casinos.
- JULY 24, 2012 – Gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan tells Salem residents that she supports one highly regulated casino in the state.
- OCTOBER 26, 2012 – Over 100 people attend a forum in Salem hosted by casino advocacy group NH Casino Now detailing a two-year Rockingham Park construction timeline. A casino referendum is planned for March, 2013.
- NOVEMBER 6, 2012 – Gov.Maggie Hassan wins the race for New Hampshire governor, promising that she would support a single, highly regulated casino in the state in an open bidding process, instead of just accepting Rockingham ParK
- JANUARY 31, 2013 – Senate Bill 152, introducing expanded gaming in NH, and considering Salem as the site, is introduced and referred to Senate Ways and Means.
- FEBRUARY 7, 2013 – Millennium Gaming visits Rockingham Park for a forum, where they unveil their new plans for a casino at the facility.
- FEBRUARY 19, 2013 – Five days after her budget address, Gov. Maggie Hassan after previously presenting a budget incorporating $80 million of revenue from a casino licensing fee, takes to the floor of a Senate Ways and Means Committee. hearing to once again back expanded gambling – testimony from all sides of the casino debate is heard.
- MARCH 5, 2013 – The Senate Ways and Means Committee passes Senate Bill 152 by a 4-1 vote; a week later, 81 percent of Salem voters embraces a casino at Rockingham Park, supporting a non-binding referendum during town meeting
- MAY 8, 2013 – Millennium Gaming returns to Rockingham Park, revealing a new casino plan. The new plan is up from the previous $450 million estimate, and is closer to $600 million.
- MAY 22, 2013 – Senate Bill 152 receives a final death blow as the House votes 199-164 to reject the legislation, upholding the committee recommendation of ITL. –
- NOVEMBER, 2013 – State officials in New Hampshire are prepping a bill that would expand gambling in the state. Officials have been working to rework the proposal defeated earlier in the year and resubmit it to lawmakers before the end of the year.
- JANUARY, 2014 – Senate considers casino bill again.
- JANUARY 26, 2014 – A bill that would allow for two casinos in the state and establish a new regulatory framework passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday, 4-1.
- FEBRUARY, 2014 – Single casino bill pushed by Gov. Hassan; 2 casino bill tabled.
- MARCH 13, 2014 – The House has defeated a one-casino bill supported by Gov. Maggie Hassan, 173-144, dashing the hopes of casino supporters once again, especially those of Rockingham Park after a proposed bill to introduce a single casino with 5,000 slot games and 150 table games was rejected.
- MAY 27, 2014 – Lawmakers have one more shot at approving expanded gambling this session, this time in the form of a bill by Sen. Lou D’Allesandro calling for two casinos to be located anywhere in the state, until it is defeated later in June.
MY PROGNOSTICATION – With Massachusetts repeal vote allowed for November, I expect to see the embers of gambling expansion’s death to build in NH – especially if it IS repealed.
But, the reality is Massachusetts will get it’s casinos and NH’s consideration of casino expansion will die out. You heard it here first.
That’s all for now.