Casino Coverage

Sara Plourde / NHPR
Sara Plourde / NHPR

The gambling bill goes to the floor of the NH House for a full vote on Wednesday, after receiving a narrow 23-22 supercommittee vote resulting in a recommendation to kill the bill; the recommendation means that none of the amendments being debated in the House will be under consideration unless Wednesday's vote also fails to approve the bill. One such amendment would look to beef up regulation, while allowing for more revenue. Issues on the docket in the NH Senate include the Stand Your Groud repeal, Voter ID, the gas tax, the tobacco tax, medical marijuana, and the minimum wage.

Millennium Gaming Focuses On The Basics, Not The Glitz

May 20, 2013
Emily Corwin / NHPR

No prospective casino developer has been in the news more than Bill Wortman and his firm, Millennium Gaming. Wortman has been courting the town of Salem for years and recently unveiled his concept for a casino at Rockingham Park.

Wortman may have started off as a CPA but he clearly enjoys the role of casino developer that he's morphed into. A beefy man who favors a casual, open collar look, Wortman began his gaming career in 1978 at one of the iconic casinos on the Las Vegas strip:

Emily Corwin / NHPR

What would a casino at Rockingham Park mean for Salem city government? We traveled to Western Pennsylvania to find out. There, a $550 million casino and racetrack called The Meadows has injected millions into local government.

Joint House Committee Votes 23-22 To Kill Casino Bill

May 15, 2013

By a single vote, a special joint House committee has recommended killing a bill that would legalize a casino in New Hampshire.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

A team of reporters at NHPR is gearing up for a series next week that looks at what a casino at Rockingham Park – could mean for the town of Salem. To prepare for that series, our economy reporter Emily Corwin traveled to Washington County in Western Pennsylvania. The racetrack and casino there, called The Meadows, is run by Millennium Gaming. That’s the same company that already has an option to buy Rockingham Park, if legislation passes.

The New Hampshire House makes its first key vote as the casino bill is voted on by a supercommittee comprised of the House Finance and Ways & Means Committees; various amendments will be considered on Tuesday, with a committee vote and recommendation coming Wednesday. The New Hampshire Senate, meanwhile, continues to work on its budget, and the Senate Finance Committee prepares to hear from some of the larger state agencies - Health & Human Services, Transportation, and Environmental Services - on their budget needs.

Sara Plourde

Today on The Exchange, it's our Friday New Hampshire News Roundup. We're looking at some of the top stories of the week, from the one public hearing held on the state Senate's budget, to the House's hard look at the Senate casino bill, and the removal of "grow your own" policy from the medical marijuana bill.

Guests:

Kevin Landrigan - Longtime political reporter for the Telegraph of Nashua.

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. 

N.H. Civic Groups: Casinos Book Best Entertainers

May 2, 2013

The executive director of the Capitol Center for the Arts says a New Hampshire casino would outbid her nonprofit and others like it for the top entertainment acts it needs to survive.

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. 

In the wake of the bombings in Boston, NH Senator Kelly Ayotte and other lawmakers are arguing for treating the remaining suspect as an enemy combatant, which would break new legal ground; the national gun bill fails to pass, with Senator Ayotte being the lone New England Senator to oppose the bill; the casino bill backed by Governor Hassan and the NH Senate is now being examined by the NH House Finance and Ways & Means committees; both branches of the NH Legislature continue to work on their budgets.

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 casino legislation endorsed by the New Hampshire Senate and strongly backed by governor Maggie Hassan got its first hearing in the New Hampshire House Tuesday.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The state’s largest teacher’s union, the National Educators Association of New Hampshire, has come out in favor Governor Maggie Hassan’s budget, including its use of casino gambling as a source of funding.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

If the Senate bill that proposes a single casino in the state becomes law it “would dedicate millions of dollars per year directly to North Country economic development,” Governor Maggie Hassan said during a speech Thursday night before the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

That would spur business and job growth “helping us attract new companies by marketing the North Country’s advantages to businesses in Canada and elsewhere,” she told about 125 people at the Log Haven Restaurant on lonely Route 26 in Millsfield, about 145 miles from Concord.

The N.H. Troopers Association and the N.H. Police Association see a casino on the Massachusetts border as a way to boost law enforcement budgets.

Both unions have supported casino bills in the past, and at a morning news conference they said they don’t expect that position to change. Seth Cooper is President of the Troopers Association.

“It is our view belief that sb152 is a good plan for the state of NH, and will assist the funding of vital services for this state.”

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.

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.

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