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