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New Hampshire Senate Revives Casino Gambling Bill

Summary: Casino gambling may be a reality in New Hampshire soon as the state Senate has revived a measure that would legalize casinos in the state.

While gambling can be found in the state of New Hampshire, there is no fully functioning casino in the state. Lawmakers have been trying for years to legalize casino gaming with no luck. Senator Lou D’Allesandro has been a strong supporter of casino gaming in the state, having recently proposed a law to allow for casino gaming. Bills have been brought forth by the senator for many years only to die away. Now, a proposal of the senator’s was recently revived and still stands a chance of passing into law.

SB 310

Legislation SB 310 was created by the Senator to legalize two casinos in the state. The bill was tabled in the Senate when a vote of 13 to 11 against the bill was cast on the 7th of March. However, over the past two weeks, D’Allesandro was able to convince three senators to change their vote. The bill then had a new vote of 13 to 11, but this time, it was in favor of the measure.

Switching from NO votes to Yes were Senators David Starr, Melanie Levesque and Jeb Bradley. However, there was a YES vote switched to No via Senator Jay Kahn, but it did not change the outcome of the vote.

The senator felt that he was able to convince his fellow lawmakers to make the switch to YES due to showing them the economic value of the venues. He told lawmakers about the recent House vote of 3 to 1 in support of sports betting legalization as well as the expansion of keno.

The senator feels that lawmakers are getting on board because they see that gaming is taking place around New Hampshire and this may be the last chance the state has to enjoy the economic benefits. A facility in Massachusetts is soon to open up and residents of New Hampshire will go there and spend money. The senator wants to see residents stay in NH and support the local economy.

Two Casinos

The legislation would approve two casinos for the state, one a category one and one a category two. The category one casino will have a licensing fee cost of $40 million. The facility can house 160 table games and 3,500 video lottery machines. Sports betting will also be allowed.

For the category two facility, the license will cost $20 million. The casino can house 80 table games and 1,500 video lottery machines. It can also have sports betting. The casinos cannot be owned by the same entity.

It has been estimated that as much as $134 million will be generated by 2023 from casino gambling in the state and even more, $194 million, by 2024.

While the idea has garnered enough support, there are still those who are opposed. Senator Martha Fuller Clark has continued to argue from day one, citing that the state will never be able to create a casino that will be able to compete with the Wynn casino in Everett, Massachusetts. She feels the state will only lose instead of gain.

It will be interesting to see if the measure will continue to move on and if casino gaming will be approved in the state.