New HampshireWe’ve heard it all before.  New Hampshire legislators suggest casinos to fend off lost revenue & jobs from Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut & Rhode Island casinos.Will this be the time it succeeds?

Rockingham Park's clubhouse in 1933
Rockingham Park’s clubhouse in 1933

It all began when Rockingham Park, New England’s first track that debuted  in 1906, closed its doors for good Aug. 31, 2016. In 1991, the year the first Native American casinos in Connecticut opened, Rockingham handled more than $200 million on live and simulcast Thoroughbred racing, but the numbers dropped every year thereafter.

Rockingham ParkThe fate of the track was sealed when the ownership group failed during every session for more than 20 years to get casino gambling passed by the New Hampshire legislature. Without expanded gambling and with increased competition from casinos in neighboring Massachusetts and Maine and nearby Connecticut, the business was no longer sustainable.

In December of 2015,  New Hampshire residents were introduced to legislation HB 630, which was touted as the “largest gambling bill” in the state’s history, is designed to establish the New Hampshire Video Lottery, as well as pave the way for up to two Las Vegas-style casinos to be established in the Granite State permitting up to six VLTs, including slot machines, blackjack and video poker, to be installed at hundreds of bars, restaurants and clubs. Those opposed said it would ” potentially turn all high-traffic street corners in New Hampshire into gambling dens.”

It was repealed, even though it was estimated to reduce the average taxpayer’s bill by 5%.

The new Nashua casino/ card room.
The new Nashua casino/ card room.

Gambling in New Hampshire is regulated by the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission. A great portion of the income generated by the state’s gambling facilities is contributed to various charitable institutions. New Hampshire players can gamble at card rooms. These facilities card games function as well as other table games, such as blackjack and roulette. The Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission has so far licensed ten such properties.

Seabrookpoker room
Seabrookpoker room

A list of New Hampshire Card Rooms are in a NETG previous post Poker Update – Healthy in the Northeast, Including New Hampshire?

A new gambling bill got its first hearing at the New Hampshire Statehouse on yesterday that would authorize two casinos anywhere in the state. SB 242 was filed by longtime gaming proponent, state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester. According to D’Allesandro, two casinos would bring close to $195 million per year into state coffers.   “This bill is an economic recovery job-creation package,” D’Allesandro said in a press release. “Right now, we have gambling going on all around us and New Hampshire is seeing none of the benefits. With two casinos, we have an opportunity to create hundreds of jobs, bring in hundreds of millions of dollars into our state, and help our struggling communities.”

Tomorrow, we look into the proposal of gambling again, how it would affect the the charitable gambling in the state, and the online gaming added to the proposal.

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