Battle for Casino Gaming Continues in New Hampshire

by Kyle Miller

Senator Lou D'AllesandroSenator Lou D’Allesandro continues the fight for casino gaming in New Hampshire.

It seems almost every state in the US is considering some form of gaming expansion. Be it offering casino gaming for the very first time, poker, daily fantasy sports or the lottery, several states are currently discussing their options or have legislation on the table for consideration of a given gaming category. In New Hampshire, one senator has tried for almost two decades to see casino gaming offered in his home state and is at it yet again.

Senator Lou D’Allesandro Won’t Give Up

Manchester Senator Lou D’Allesandro is not ready to give up on casino gaming for the state of New Hampshire, despite having tried for 18 years to see legislation on the subject come to pass. The senator is trying yet again to see casino gambling authorized with two locations created for gaming in the state.

Last week, the Senate held a marathon session in which Senate Bill 242 was able to pass via a vote of 13 to 10. The bill must now move past the Senate Finance Committee today, of which there are five members. If the bill is able to move forward, it would then go on to the House for consideration.

If the bill will pass still remains a mystery. Three of the committee members voted against the gambling bill during the full Senate vote. However, this has not stopped the Senator from moving the bill forward and continuing the fight for legalization. On Monday, D’Allesandro stated that if he has to bring the measure back to the Senate floor and pass it again then that is what he will do.

Try and Try Again

The state of New Hampshire has tried several times to pass legislation in order to offer casino gaming. In 2014, the state came as close as they possibly could to passing a bill into law with the Democrats controlling the House. Casino revenue was even added to the state two year budget by Governor Maggie Hassan. However, the governor and senate support could not see the bill pass, with a narrow negative vote of 173 to 172.

D’Allesandro is hoping that his latest bill will have a better outcome. He stated that he has reason to believe that if he can talk to them, then he will go to them one on one, in the lower chamber, and possibly have a good chance of seeing the measure move forward. The senator stated that he has no alternative other than to do what he thinks is in the best interest of the state.

The New Bill

With SB 242, the state would be adding two casinos, one with category one licensing and one with category two licensing. The category one license will have a price tag of $80 million and will see the operator offering a minimum of 80 table games or maximum of 160. As many as 2,000 to 3,500 slot machines will be allowed.

With the category two license, the operator will pay $40 million and be allowed to offer only 25 to 80 table games. Slot machine numbers will range from 750 to 1,500 machines.

The money produced by the gaming venues would go towards the host communities and towns that neighbor the casinos, as well as the host county. EBT cards will not be allowed at the venues and gambling addiction recovery programs will be funded by the state.

While the bill has support, there are also those who are opposed. The Casino Free NH organization as well as the state Attorney General have shown their disdain over the casino bill.