Gambling

Leslie Jones, 1933 / Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

This week, NHPR has been taking a close look at what a casino would mean for the town of Salem, a likely location for a gambling establishment.  On Wednesday, the House voted down the idea of expanded gaming.  We end our series today with a look back at the best—and worst—times The Rock has faced.

Gambling has been front and center in New Hampshire politics since January.  Governor Hassan made a major political push for it, interest groups weighed in on both sides, and public policy groups came out with data on the possible effects of a Granite State casino. That's why today's vote in the House has been considered by many as maybe the biggest vote of the year. In the end, the House voted 199-164 to kill the casino bill. Today we'll have some of the major players of this debate and ask gaming advocate what's next for them.

Guests

Amanda Loder / NHPR

As the New Hampshire House prepares to vote on a casino bill this week, NHPR is bringing you a series of stories that look at the implications of opening a casino in the Granite State.  Today we turn our focus to the potential social costs related to gambling addiction: how the state is handling problem gambling now, and how it could in the future.

Sara Plourde / NHPR
Amanda Loder / NHPR

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. 

Slots
Jeff Kubina / Flickr Creative Commons

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. 

House Committees Hear Expert Testimony On Casinos

Apr 17, 2013

The joint House committee assigned to hear the casino bill backed by the state Senate and Governor Maggie Hassan got an earful today, as House members spent the day listing to experts.

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.

sincerelyhiten via flickr Creative Commons

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.

N.H. Senate Backs Gambling

Mar 14, 2013

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.

An amendment to Senate Bill 152, which proposes a single casino in the state, provides details on how money designated for use in the North Country would be used.

Sen. Jeff Woodburn, a Democrat from Dalton, says his amendment:

1) Requires the funds would be managed by “three public members from the North Country appointed by the governor.” Each would serve a two-year term.

2) Requires the money would be used for “job creation, economic stability and other activities which improve the standard of living of residents of the North Country."

A bill authorizing a casino with 500 slot machines and 150 table games faces its first vote in the senate ways and means committee Tuesday morning.

The proposal enjoys the backing of Governor Maggie Hassan and calls for the casino to be located on the Massachusetts border.

But as NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports, it’s also getting some attention in the North Country.

As drafted, Senate Bill 152, envisions a sending part of of the casino’s profits to the North Country for economic development.

Sen. Jeff Woodburn is a Democrat from Dalton.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

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.

Hassan Makes Case For Casino In Budget Address

Feb 14, 2013
Double Spin 5 Times Pay $1 Slot Machine
Frank Bonilla / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

MarkyBon via Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Guests:

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.

Several bills that would expand gambling in New Hampshire are likely to be introduced this session.  One North Country lawmaker plans to file a bill to allow two casinos in the state.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

As the legislative session begins, Governor-elect Maggie Hassan has repeatedly said that she’s open to expanded gambling in the state.

And she thinks New Hampshire would benefit most from a single high-end casino near the Massachusetts border.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

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. 

 

In unusual alliances Democrats and Republicans from the North Country paired up for and against a bill that would have allowed gambling.

The bill failed on a 118 – 226 vote.

Eight representatives – including five Republicans and three Democrats – voted in favor of the bill.

Six representatives - including four Republicans and two Democrats – voted against the bill.

As NHPR’s Todd Bookman reported:

House Folds on Gaming Bill

Mar 28, 2012

Gambling in New Hampshire ran up against a stacked deck in the Statehouse today. 

The House has voted to kill a bill that would have brought four casinos and 14,000 video slot machines to the state. The bill would have used gambling revenue to reduce business taxes.

Supporters urged quick action to offset the recent approval of three casinos in Massachusetts.

"Since Massachusetts passed its own expanded gaming bill, doing nothing is no longer an option," says Representative David Campbell, a Democrat from Nashua.

The House rejected that plan by 40 votes. 

Key House Committee Considers Expanded Gambling Bill

Feb 14, 2012

The debate over the economic impacts of HB 593 (or "The Casino Bill," if you will) continues. As Kevin Landrigan of the Nashua Telegraph reports, discussion of the bill continued Monday, when the House Ways and Means committee listened to about three hours of public testimony:

Once again, lawmakers are looking at bills to increase gambling options in New Hampshire.  With more gaming sites opening up in  Maine and Massachusetts some say that’s a reason to expand here, while opponents say just the opposite.  Meanwhile, Governor Lynch says he’s not willing to “make a bet” on gambling, making the reality of casinos in the Granite State tougher, but not impossible for this cause.

Guests

Amanda Loder, StateImpact/NHPR

Recently, we told you about a gas station in the border town of Methuen, Massachusetts.  According to Massachusetts State Lottery Executive Director Paul Sternburg, it’s on track to do $13 million this year in lottery revenues.  When we spoke with Ted’s Mobil owner Tony Amico, he estimated at least half his customers are from New Hampshire.  And StateImpact’s unscientific survey of license plates in the gas station parking lot bore t

Lynch Vows Gambling Veto

Nov 14, 2011

Governor John Lynch promises to veto any bill that would allow casinos or similar forms of gambling in the state.

Governor Lynch struck preemptively.  In a letter to the Republican leaders in the House and Senate, he said more gambling would increase social service costs and, with casinos likely to come to Massachusetts,  fail to raise as much revenue as backers predict.

The governor’s spokesman, Colin Manning said furthermore, any expansion will lead to proliferation.

Proposal to allow two NH casinos clears ways and means committee by 14-7 margin. NHPR's Josh Rogers reports.

The 14-7 vote by the house ways and means committee runs counter to years of anti-gambling votes in the house. And it comes in the wake Massachusetts' passing bills that call for three resort casinos and one slot machine parlor. House Majority leader DJ Bettencourt of Salem hopes votes on Beacon Hill have changed the changes the equation on gambling for many house members.

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