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.

seabrook-park-nh

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.

Binbin

New England’s Casino Growth in 4 Years

New England Map

New England

Two years ago in New England.

Four years ago in New England.

When I first started this blog, I hoped that New England would have become the Biloxi-Gulfport area of the northeast – casinos offering gamblers the variety and quality to go along with the area’s historical and cultural tourism.  But, how naive could I be – it’s business.

At that time, my love of jazz and fascination of the casino industry morphed into thoughts connected by the death of jazz piano great Dave Brubeck. You can check out part 1 & 2 by clicking on their titles:

Part 1 of 2: Casinos, Jazz & Brubeck – what do they have in common?

Part 2 of 2: Casinos, Jazz & Brubeck

While my intentions are the same today, the gambling landscape continues to transform.  Expansion continues to be discussed.

Last month marked our four  year anniversary of N.E.TimeGambling.com  Let’s see where New England’s Casino Industry was in 2012, where it is now, and where it might be going.

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NETG Idle Thoughts: The New England Casino Industry in Ten Years

Early picture of Circus Circus, complete with old carousel in front.

Early picture of Circus Circus, complete with old carousel in front.

Once upon a time, in 1968, “Circus Circus” on the Las Vegas strip was the new gem, Jay Sarno’s follow up Casino to his 1966 masterpiece “Caesars Palace.”  This was before Steve Wynn took the Strip by storm, with Mirage, and themes became the big push in expanding Las Vegas Boulevard.  Imperial Palace was still a decade from being built, let alone the themes of Excalibur

Excalibur. Vegas Strip

Excalibur. Vegas Strip

& Luxor of the 1990’s.  Yes, Circus Circus was the extraordinary.  “Introducing Circus Circus, the most exciting casino in the world!” Clarence Hoffman said as he opened the doors for the first time of this new concept in casinos – The football field sized casino and big top with a casino for all ages.  To separate the gamblers from children as required by law, a second level contained midway games and attractions in view of the circus acts.  What a spectacle!

And now, approaching 50 years in service to gamblers and families alike, Circus Circus finds itself as a bottom-feeder, a low-end casino on the worst end of the Strip.

Yes, things change.  The best is eventually out done by someone else.  The old established becomes the “Has Been.”  Imagine the likes of Excalibur & Luxor who began the great expansion of Las Vegas casinos are now considered value properties – below the great & plentiful resorts now found on the Strip in 2015.

Wynn Everett - Will this be New England's Aria?

Will this be New England’s Aria?

What does this have to do with New England Casinos?  It’s the circle of casino life.

In the next ten years, we are looking at the once mighty tribal casinos of Connecticut out done by the new kids – the Massachusetts duo of MGM Springfield, Wynn Everett, and possibly the resort trifecta with New Bedford.  The question is, will they re-invent themselves, of go the way of Circus Circus – still alive, but lower on the casino food chain.  The state of Connecticut certainly won’t let them go the way of the Riviera on the Las Vegas Strip, which closed it’s doors this week.  Why not?  Too much money at stake – just like Rhode Island – too much dependence on gaming revenue.

But, as the late infomercials go, “But Wait, there’s more!”

Will the next cycle be the doubling of casinos in New England followed by the “Atlantic City Effect?” – too many to stay financially afloat, with  some closing, only to find less properties in the business.  Ah, then prosperity begins again.

Here’s a guess at the peak number of prospective casinos in New England (prospective, but not probable)?  Let’s take a look for laughs and giggles:

  • CT – 2 tribal resorts, and 3 tribal “satellite” casinos = 5
  • RI – 2 casinos, both under the name of Twin River Casino, Hotel & Resort = 2
  • MA – 3 casino resorts, 1 slots-only parlor, 1 tribal (Wampanoags) = 5
  • NH – 2 casinos = (don’t count on it, although I expect it brought to legislature at least two more times in the next ten years) = 2
  • VT – yes, even Vermont has been questioning keeping its revenue in the state, since threatened by MA & NY = 1
  • ME – 3 casinos, all expanded to small resorts and 2 tribal (Maliseets & Passamaquaddys) = 5

thThat’s a total of 20 casinos in an area close to the size  of Washington state.  And some say it’s already saturated. Geez……..

I can’t wait to see it all happen before my eyes.  Here are my thoughts – please comment what you think, or join the NETG Facebook community and gives your thoughts after looking into your crystal ball.

  1. Which casino do you think will be the Caesars Palace of New England – the long, historical quality resort? 

  2. Which will become the Aria or Cosmopolitan of New England – new, glitzy, high quality and meeting the needs of young and old – mostly young?

  3. Which will become Circus Circus of New England – worn, tired, low-end of the New England Casinos?

That’s all for now.

Binbin

New Hampshire Makes the Right Choice – AGAIN!

thHaven’t we all had enough of this story?  Over and over we hear the same thing – New Hampshire wants a casino, oops not this time, oh this will be different, oh, nope, guess not…..how about two? and Massachusetts is taking all our money!

New HampshireGuess what, three strikes and you’re out.  You’re too late to the party and your constituents, dear legislators, just don’t want any part of it.

The New Hampshire House once again rejected casino gambling on Wednesday, voting down a proposal that would have legalized two venues that supporters said would have provided badly needed revenue.  Casinos have never passed the House, but supporters and opponents alike were expecting a much closer vote than the roughly 50-vote swing on Wednesday.  Was I shocked – not in the least.

So, I can finally clean out all my NH alerts in NH blog folder.  Sorry my dear Granite State, it’s just not your gig!

That’s all for now.

Binbin

Hey, New England Casinos – Can We All Just Get Along?

300px-Map-USA-New_England01Long ago as I started blogging about this passion of New England’s Casinos, I asked the question “Can We All Just Get Along?”  At the time, There were just four casinos, rumblings from New Hampshire that never materialized, a few native tribes still seeking recognition and the beginning of the lobbying of pro & con casino expansion in Massachusetts.  Heck, Twin River was still only a slot parlor.

At the time, I suggested that these little states work together to have a regional gaming industry to entice people from all over the country, and also brings visitors for our attractions, our history, our museums, and our wonderful seasons.  (OK, maybe not this “winter from hell”)

John Baibak, WHYN

John Baibak, WHYN

This past week, I read an editorial by John Baibak from NEWS RADIO WHYN 560.  It was simple, with just enough historical background to make the same point.  John wrote “Knocking Down Walls That Stand In Our Way.”  His comments echoed my first blogs about getting along for the good of the region.

Referring to years ago when the New England Governors met, John writes ” — the six governors would come out and talk to reporters but it always looked like they were tolerating each other.  It appears with all of this we are back to the old days when Governors turned back flips to steal businesses from the other state.  We have now reentered that age.”  He continues, saying, “If Connecticut and Massachusetts are shy about dealing with each other – I will be happy to put all the players in the same room together.  There is no need to have wars between the states.  There is only a need in the spirit of “regionalism” – that every politician talks about like it was going out of style,  that we trade ideas and co-exist.  Reagan and Gorbachev managed to get it done, certainly this can’t be a big deal.”

Brilliantly said.  I don’t feel alone anymore.  I feel the same way.

Unfortunately, John is right.  And it’s not just town vs town, city vs city.  It’s Mass vs CT, CT vs RI, Mass vs RI, Mass vs Maine, and don’t forget the new addition (for the fourth time!) Mass vs NH!

New England could do so much better together.  Maybe a one big boardwalk from Mohegan Sun to Bangor, Maine might help?  Nah…..just kidding.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

New England Gambling History – A Brief Look Back & Looking Forward

The Mohegans were allies of John Mason against the Pequots in the Great Pequot War in 1637

The Mohegans were allies of John Mason against the Pequots in the Great Pequot War in 1637.  Will the Mohegans & Pequots re-unite in the Great Casino War of 2016?

The Pequot and Mohegan Tribes were one tribe, but war with colonists, differences with other tribes, and different tribal and colonial alliances caused a split that continues to this day.  Over 250 years later, a bingo hall in 1985 began the history of gaming in New England.

A quick little history lesson:

1992 – first New England Casino as Foxwoods opens its doors in Mashentucket, CT

Foxwoods started it all with a Bingo hall.

Foxwoods started it all with a Bingo hall.

1992 – Rhode Island approves VLT gaming machines (class II) at Lincoln Greyhound Park & Newport Jai Alai
1996 – the Mohegan Tribe opens the second NE casino in Uncasville, CT
2005 – Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway opens in Bangor, Maine
2007 – Lincoln Greyhound Park turns into Twin River Casino with class III gaming; Newport soon follows
2008 – MGM joins Foxwoods with additional hotel / casino
2011 – MA legislature approves construction of 3 casinos
2012 – Oxford Casino opens in Oxford, Maine
2015 – MA to open first of three (4?) casinos in Plainville, Mass at Plainridge Park.

In 2016 / 2017 – MA opens two more casinos: Wynn Everett and MGM Springfield

I should mention that casino gambling found a home in the 1800’s in Newport, Rhode Island, not to mention the numerous greyhound,greyhound horse tracks and  parimutuel parlors throughout New England. Jai Alai frontons in Milford & Hartford CT, and Newport, RI were also popular for a while in the 1970 – 90s until Foxwoods opened.

Now, the time machine takes us to 2015, a country filled with new casinos and gambling – and New England becoming “Saturation Station.” Two casinos in New England began a gaming journey that we might find in the future to include:

  • Connecticut – 5 casinos – 3 additional satellites of Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun
  • Rhode Island – 2 Twin River Casinos
  • Massachusetts – 4 casinos, plus an additional Indian Casino in the Southeast
  • New Hampshire – 2 Casinos, wherever?
  • Maine – 2 casinos
  • Total = 15 casinos in a combined area slightly larger than the state of Washington, which has 28 Indian casinos in operation.

thWhere am I going with this?  To tell you the truth, I don’t know…..does anybody know?  Let’s be honest, the news of an economic gambling war between New England States could go in many directions.  Right now, the future is as murky as  General Washington on the Delaware River.

That’s all for now – my head hurts.

Binbin

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.

Binbin

Round and Round We Go – Granite State Raceways And Casinos?

image

Two speedways are getting the nod as best casino facilities.

Casino advocates dangled $25.2 million in revenue sharing for cities and towns before lawmakers in the latest attempt to expand gambling in the state. Proponents told the House Ways and Means Committee the money will help reduce property taxes and take some financial pressure off communities.

The two raceways mentioned are New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, and Rockingham Park, a facility that has been optioned to the Millennium Gaming owners, Bill Wortman and Bill Paulos of Las Vegas. Continue reading

MGM Massachusetts Asks for a Break

Artist Rendering of MGM Springfield

Artist Rendering of MGM Springfield

MGM wanted to be the first to get in the license application. They had to secure the west region license before everyone any other region was decided. MGM had to be ahead of all other plans.

Now, with efforts to repeal Massachusetts’ casino law underway, MGM Resorts International has asked state regulators to delay the collection of casino fees from the company even as it prepares to become the state’s first licensed casino operator.

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New Hampshire Still Can’t Make Up It’s Casino Mind

270px-New_Hampshire_in_United_States.svg

This on-again, off-again interest in gambling from New Hampshire is getting annoying.  In the past year, just when I get the feeling of which way it was going, days later it was reversed.

Now, after the previous casino bill was defeated and all thought that casino gambling was dead in New Hampshire, the House’s tax writing committee will hold a hearing on a new Senate plan to legalize casino gambling in New Hampshire. Continue reading

“No Casino” Theme Again? – This time It’s New Hampshire!

casiNO

Casino gambling in New Hampshire was given another set-back a few weeks ago when the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday voted 11-9 to kill Bill 1633 – which would establish the regulatory framework and oversight authority for a casino with up to 5,000 video slot machines and 150 table games.  The committee also voted to kill three other casino bills Tuesday, two that would have allowed six casinos in various parts of the state.

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