Casino Coverage

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she would likely sign a two-casino bill now before the Legislature if it came to her desk.  

Hassan's comments on Friday are the first time she's said she would sign the measure and they come two days after she told reporters she doesn't think a market exists for two casinos in the state.  

Dave via Flickr CC

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she doesn't think a market exists for two casinos in New Hampshire, as proposed in a bill that has passed the Senate and is now before the House.

Brady Carlson, NHPR

The House Ways and Means committee has narrowly voted to recommend passage of a bill to authorize casinos in New Hampshire.

Before the 11 to 10 vote, committee members exchanged arguments familiar to anyone who’s followed casino debates in the past. Backers like Republican Gary Azarian of Salem said that, in addition to boosting jobs and economic growth, casinos would give the state revenue to fund its priorities without increasing taxes or fees.

LLudo / Flickr/cc

Like the return of spring crocuses, New Hampshire’s perennial gambling debate is back. Earlier this year, the Senate passed a two-casino bill and sent it to the House, which has been a graveyard for these measures.  We’ll find out if this time will be any different and look at how arguments around economic benefits and social costs have played out in other states.

Dave via Flickr CC

Senate President Chuck Morse has repeatedly said he won’t include money derived from unapproved forms of gambling in the senate budget proposal. He reiterated that point as he pitched the casinos -- which could include a total of 5000 slot machines and 240 table games -- to the house ways and means committee.

"You know we are going to fund the needs of the people of the state of N.H. in the state budget, but I can assure you the wants are much greater."

SalFalko via Flickr CC

  The state senate Ways and Means Committee will hear a bill that would approve the creation of two casinos this Tuesday morning.

Long-time casino champion and sponsor of the bill, Democratic Senator Lou D’Allesandro of Manchester, says this bill has a lot more revenue sharing than past bills.

“Every person in the state has a stake in this piece of legislation.”

D’Allesandro says the hosting community, neighboring communities, the hosting county and the state health department each get a cut of the revenue.

Shawn Rutkowski via Flickr CC

Early figures from the Maine Gambling Control Board show slot machine revenue at the state's two casinos remained nearly flat last year when compared to the previous year.

Slot players gambled $459.6 million last year at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, an almost 2 percent decline from the $468.9 million bet in 2013.

Exact year-end figures for Oxford Casino won't be available for a few months, but casino managers have told the state that it will pocket $31.5 million after taxes, just $7,600 more than in 2013 when players gambled $677 million on slots there.

Via MGM's project website

Gambling money will begin flowing into local government coffers in earnest now that the state's casino law survived an Election Day repeal effort.

In the coming weeks, MGM says it will make more than $1 million in community payments to Springfield, where it is building an $800 million resort. The company will also pay over $1.5 million to eight surrounding municipalities by Dec. 6.

In a debate Thursday morning on WGIR, Governor Maggie Hassan repeatedly went after Republican Walt Havenstein for a pledge he signed earlier this year with the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.

“By singing that Koch brothers pledge, he is pledging to undo our Medicaid expansion, he’s pledging no matter what to do what the Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity tell him to do.”

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has awarded the Boston-area casino license to Wynn Resorts, which plans to build a casino resort in Everett.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe says it's a step closer to having land placed in trust for a proposed resort casino in Taunton.

The U.S. Department of Interior has released a final environmental impact statement on the 151-acre site. The move begins a one-month comment period before the decision is formally recorded.

Legislative Roundtable: Reflections On 2014

Jun 9, 2014
Rachel James / Flickr/CC

We're sitting down with a panel of House and Senate leaders to look back on the year in the legislature. It was a year of victories for supporters of Medicaid Expansion, but of disappointment for casino backers and death penalty opponents.  And it ended with several major players announcing they’re getting out of the game and retiring from politics. 


John Wardell via Flickr CC

All Things Considered is looking at some of the key bills of the 2014 legislative session – and how they ended up passing or failing to pass.

This year's casino debate may have seen some new lines of argument, but the outcome was the same as in years past: casino proposals won support in the State Senate, but came up short in the State House.

Reporter Norma Love of the Associated Press explains the dynamic behind this year's casino debate to NHPR's Brady Carlson.

Gambling Takes Center Stage In Congressional Race

Jun 2, 2014
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Casinos are shaping up to be a key issue in the 2nd Congressional District’s Republican primary.

At competing events Monday, several state representatives from Salem who back expanded gaming publicly endorsed GOP candidate Gary Lambert.

Meanwhile in Concord, anti-casino activists defended fellow Salem Representative Marilinda Garcia’s vote against a plan to legalize two casinos, despite overwhelming public support in her district.

Expanded Gambling: Will New Bill Change Minds?

Apr 21, 2014
Mark Menzies / Flickr/CC

After many failed attempts to pass a casino bill, supporters think they may finally have a winning hand -- proposing two casinos and a new revenue-sharing plan. Opponents are raising long-held concerns about gambling’s social costs, including addiction and crime. We’ll look at this new bill and its odds for passing.  


SalFalko via Flickr CC

Casino supporters are betting that a plan to distribute more than $25 million in gambling revenue to New Hampshire cities and towns will convince House lawmakers to reverse their historic opposition to expanded gaming.

Less than a month after it killed a casino bill favored by Gov. Maggie Hassan, the House will begin discussion on Senate Bill 366, which proposes to authorize two casinos in the Granite State.

limconcon / Flickr Creative Commons

After yet another casino bill failed last year, new versions have emerged – with new regulations attached in hopes of appeasing opponents.  Supporters say a casino would bring in much-needed revenue to the state. But opposition remains among those worried about social costs, and those who question whether it would be profitable, given expanded gambling elsewhere in New England.


JV via Flickr CC

Update: The Senate Ways & Means Committee approved SB 366, 4-1, this morning. Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster, was the lone vote in opposition to the bill, which would license two casinos. Senate President Chuck Morse said the legislation will now move to the full Senate. Morse said the Senate will likely table it and wait for the House to act on its own gambling bill. That legislation, drafted by members of the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authorityenvisions a single casino, which Gov. Maggie Hassan supports.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

On a recent afternoon at the Common Grounds Cafe, 200 yards from the New Hampshire border in Methuen, Mass, a handful of men sit along a short counter or at several tables in the back of the cafe.

Eyes moving back and forth from their pink and white betting slips to two wall-mounted video monitors, they wait for the next drawing of a popular electronic lottery game called Keno.

Legislation that would bring Keno to an estimated 250 bars and restaurants would, for the first time, establish a program to treat gambling addiction in New Hampshire.

An amendment to HB 485 would set aside 1 percent of the sales from Keno - about $435,000 - to the state Department of Health and Human Services for education, treatment and prevention services. William Butynski, D-Hindale, who proposed the amendment, says it’s time for lawmakers to recognize that even state-sponsored gambling such as the lottery can cause problems for a small percentage of people who play.

It’s been two years since Massachusetts’ gaming law took effect, but so far, not a single casino has been licensed or built.  The law allows for three regional resort casino licenses and one slots parlor.  Casino proposals in the Southeastern part of the state have stalled.

A special panel tasked with developing casino regulations for New Hampshire may meet with its newly hired consultant at its meeting Thursday.

The New Hampshire Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority recently hired WhiteSand Gaming of Nevada and New Jersey to help it write regulations for lawmakers to consider next year. The panel has a Dec. 15 deadline to submit draft legislation.

The agreement with WhiteSand says its charges cannot exceed $135,000.

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.

The democratically-controlled NH House voted yesterday to kill a bill authorizing a casino with as many as 5000 slot machines and 150 table games. The vote is blow to Governor Maggie Hassan, who lobbied hard for the bill.  As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports, the 199-164 vote was consistent with the house’s longstanding opposition to casino gambling, but may strain its relations with the state Senate, which had backed the plan by a supermajority.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The State House has rejected a bill to legalize a casino in southern New Hampshire, by a vote of 199 to 164.

NHPR’s Michael Brindley was on hand for the debate today in Representatives Hall. He joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson with the latest.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

4:40: The House has voted 199-164 to kill SB 152. This means amendments will not be considered to the gambling legislation and the bill is dead.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

  Whether a casino would be a boon for businesses in Salem  depends on a number of factors. Based on anecdotal evidence from a trip to Washington County, PA, these are a few important ones.

1. Is your business a restaurant or shopping mall within a half mile of the casino? 

2. Does the casino bring in out-of-town visitors?

3. Are casino employees local residents? 

To get the whole story, have a listen:

Geraldine Pajak and her friend Pauline Stripp feed dollar bills into a Gladiator-themed slot machine at The Meadows in PA.

House Prepares To Vote On Casino Bill

May 21, 2013

The New Hampshire House will vote Wednesday on whether to legalize one casino along the  Massachusetts border.

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.

If a casino is built in the state, charities in New Hampshire worry their low-stakes table games and bingo nights just won’t be able to compete. Many hold annual charity gaming events to raise funds, and fear big losses. Annmarie Timmins has been covering the casino debate for the Concord Monitor. She joined Morning Edition to talk about the possible effects to charitable gaming.