N. H. Proposing Casinos & Online Gaming – Part 2 of 2

New HampshireYesterday I answered questions, such as:

  • Why is New Hampshire looking at introducing gambling again to its residents?
  • When & where did all this start?
  • What were the influences that led to more gambling proposals since all other previous ones failed?

So, what is the latest, greatest gambling proposal brought to the New Hampshire legislators last Wednesday? Remember, Casino bills rose and fell at the Statehouse for decades, and although the Senate did pass casino bills, the House never did.


The Seabrook Greyhound Park

One thing we know is where is won’t be.  After years of previous New Hampshire casino bills focused on placing a gambling venue at the former Rockingham Park race track in Salem, a move many hoped would keep the fading race track alive, it was decided this time Rockingham Park is not a consideration.

So where?  Seabrook Park, the former dog track, is a possible site. Right off I-95, the southern border community of Seabrook is within an hour’s drive of population hubs of Greater Boston and the Merrimack Valley cities.  But the proposal is for two casinos…….

When asked by NHPR if he could “…. run through some of the details of your bill?…”, Senator

Lou D’Allesandro

Lou D’Allesandro

Lou D’Allesandro, a longtime casino proponent, replied. “Well, every bill’s a little different because you’re trying to satisfy a constituency. This bill offers two licenses, they’re wide open and anybody can bid on them. A Category 1 license is $80 million; the Category 2 license is $40 million. The A license is a little bit larger than the B license. The tax rate is still 35 percent. Both venues offer table games as well as the slot machines. The distribution formula is a little bit different. We restore revenue sharing. It’s been suspended for a number of bienniums, so we’ll give back to communities $25.2 million on an annual basis. I don’t know how anybody can be opposed to that.”

But there is another gaming bill in New Hampshire that has surfaced as well concerning Online Gambling. According to Poker News Daily, Representative Eric Schleien introduced HB562 into the state’s House of Representatives, “a bill which would decriminalize online gambling in New Hampshire.”

But what is strange is that it doesn’t regulate online gambling. So, basically, it opens up Granite State residents to play online – including poker – which might take a bite out of the charitable gaming revenue from the state’s poker rooms.

Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock

Leave it to online poker specialist Steve Ruddock to take a look at this.  According to Steve, the difference between this and propsals in other states such as New York and New Jersey.

Basically, HB 562:

  • wouldn’t (at least as presently written) create a regulatory framework in which online gambling sites would be licensed and regulated by the state of New Hampshire.
  • wouldn’t require legal online gaming sites to be operated by existing New Hampshire companies.
  • would simply decriminalize online gambling, ostensibly by allowing New Hampshire residents to play at existing online casinos and poker sites.

Steve says, “Basically, if HB 562 were enacted it might conceivably open the door for New Hampshire residents to join the global online poker and online casino market, and play at sites like PokerStars (the global site) and beyond – assuming these companies wanted to operate in New Hampshire. If it’s enacted, the effective date for the bill would be Jan. 1, 2018.”

We will follow both bills and report back.  This means the potential Casino Count in New England, if all goes through, would be:

Maine – 3 (Oxford, Bangor, and possible York County site)

New Hampshire – 2 (TBD)

Massachusetts – 4 (Plainridge, Wynn, MGM, Wampanoag First Light)

Connecticut – 3 – Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, & possible CCMT joint venture)

Rhode Island – 2 – Twin River & Newport (moving to Tiverton)

Total = 14!




New Hampshire Proposing Gaming Again – Part 1 of 2

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.