Millennium Gaming brought leaders from Washington County, Pennsylvania to Concord to tout the benefits of a casino to lawmakers at a lunch meeting today. Millennium runs The Meadows casino and racetrack in Washington. If New Hampshire allows a casino at Rockingham Park, Millennium would develop it.
Testimony turned emotional today as a House subcommittee considered the social costs of allowing a casino in New Hampshire. Most of the comments focused on studies of gambling behavior and public policy. The exception was Mell Brooks, of Littleton. He discussed his five years as a restaurant owner in Oregon, where he was allowed to have five video slot machines.
The House votes on the "Stand Your Ground" repeal, which would again require people to attempt to retreat before using deadly force, and a bill to increase the state's gas tax; gambling remains a heavily-debated issue, with differing proposals in the House and Senate, and one that could be affected by who replaces Michael Delaney as Attorney General.
Gambling in the United States has exploded over the last 30 years. More and more, budget-slashing states are becoming increasingly dependent on lottery and other gambling revenues, and politicians are lobbying for expanded gambling, including here in New Hampshire, where Governor Maggie Hassan has included a line item for $80 million in the budget for casino licensing fees. Hassan has been pushing hard for the construction of a single high-end casino near the Massachusetts border, but opponents point out that problem gambling is on the rise – in fact, pathological gambling is now being recognized on par with alcohol and drug addiction. In 2011, we spoke with investigative journalist Sam Skolnik, whose book, High Stakes: The Rising Costs of America’s Gambling Addiction, unpacks the rise of politically supported gambling, as well as its many hazards.
The New Hampshire Senate has voted 16-8 to authorize a single casino on the Massachusetts border. The Senate margin is the strongest yet for a casino bill. But the real fight on this issue will be in the New Hampshire House.
Governor Hassan began her day before the Senate Ways and Means committee. She delivered a pro-gambling pitch familiar from her budget address last week -- New Hampshire needs to act to authorize a casino with 5000 slot machines and 150 table games before similar facilities open in Massachusetts.
Governor Maggie Hassan used her budget address to propose a new, high-end casino.
Governor Hassan’s budget banks on this casino generating $80 million in licensing fees. And she said the state is already dealing with the social costs of gambling allowed in other states, without benefiting from the revenue.
It's another roll of the dice for gambling in the Granite State. This year, there are again proposals to expand gambling here, a perennial debate in our legislature. But the House traditionally opposes these bills, and they’ve never become law. Now, though, supporters feel they’ve finally been dealt a good hang, given Governor Hassan’s stated support for some type of expansion.
Lou D’Allesandro – Democratic state senator from Manchester who has sponsored many gambling proposals.
Next week on The Exchange, we begin with the latest bills to expand gambling in New Hampshire. Supporters believe the cards may be finally right for their cause, given Governor Maggie Hassan’s support for some type of increased gambling. Later, we’ll hear highlights from President Obama’s State of the Union address and get your reaction. And we’ll end the week with the ins and outs of Governor Hassan’s budget.
After almost a decade of unsympathetic leadership from Governors John Lynch and Craig Benson, all four major contenders for Governor support expanded gaming in one way or another. What does this mean for high stakes gambling in New Hampshire? Read more at StateImpact New Hampshire -- slideshow and all.