Casino Legislation Fails Again in New Hampshire

Senator Lou D’Allesandro

Senator Lou D’AllesandroLegislation has failed yet again in New Hampshire, with the state unable to pass a bill involving casino gaming.

Senator Lou D’Allesandro of New Hampshire has put up a good fight when it comes to casino gaming in his state. For close to two decades, the senator has tried to see legislation move forward for casinos to be legalized in New Hampshire, but to no avail. Time and time again, the senator has been unable to receive the support needed for legislation to move forward. The majority of states in the US offer some form of gaming, be it a lottery, card rooms, casinos, etc. New Hampshire is one such state that does not offer casino gaming and it does not appear that this will be changing any time soon.

A 2018 Push

Senator D’Allesandro was hoping to make 2018 his year with a proposal in the mix that would hopefully move through. He seemed to have some support and even told fellow lawmakers that this was the last time he was putting forth the effort to see casinos gain traction in the state. Despite the support and his threat to stop trying, the legislation failed after a House vote of 11 to 10.

Interestingly enough, the senator had support from both sides on the subject, both republicans and democrats. Senator Harold French, a republican, was a strong supporter of the legislation and hoped to see the measure move forward. French pointed out that he has went to Foxwoods in Connecticut for years to enjoy gambling, which is probably what most people do that live in the state. Gambling dollars have been going out of the state for years as players have no casino gaming options in New Hampshire.

Senator D’Allesandro has argued that because casino legislation has failed to move forward over the past twenty years, the state has lost out of around $1 billion in revenue. With the bill that D’Allesandro had introduced, the state would be offering two casino licenses, of 10 years each. Each license would cost $40 million each with a renewal fee of $1.5 million. According to the senator, the state should be able to earn $100 million to $150 million in taxes each year from the casino venues.

Surrounded by Competition

While New Hampshire has killed bill after bill involving casino gaming, surrounding states have passed legislation and constructed casinos. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and Connecticut all offer gaming, while NH continues to lag behind. Players who enjoy casino gaming are spending their money elsewhere, funds that could be used in a variety of ways within the state.

Others feel that the state does not need to be involved in casino gaming as NH tourism is based on outdoor recreation as well as cultural recreation. Senator Martha Fuller Clark has pointed out that she feels such areas of interest in the state like culture and recreation will be damaged due to casino gaming. She also feels that the long-established gaming industries of Connecticut and Massachusetts will be hard to compete with.

During an evaluation of the proposed legislation, the State Lottery Commission calculated what the impact would be if casino gaming were to be legalized. The review showed that the lottery would lose around $6 million in revenues, which is a concern to some.

Once the bill was voted on and failed to pass, it was almost killed by Senator Gary Daniels. A motion was put forth by Daniels to kill the measure, but it was interceded by Senator Dan Feltes who put a motion on the table to preserve the right to resurrect the bill before the current session ends. The bill remains in limbo and one could assume that it will probably not be able to gain enough support to move forward in the future.