New Hampshire State Gambling Guide

New Hampshire is void of both commercial and tribal casinos. This isn’t to
say that they completely lack gambling, though.

The Granite State has some smaller gaming venues that offer blackjack, craps
and poker. But these strip mall and bar-based clubs aren’t exactly what most
people envision with regard to casinos.

Given New Hampshire’s lack of casinos, it’s no surprise that they don’t offer
a regulated online gaming market. But what is surprising, is that there are
serious efforts to legalize the activity.

When can we expect this to happen? We’ll cover New Hampshire’s potential
regulated iGaming market in the next section.

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Online Gambling and New Hampshire Law

New Hampshire hasn’t taken a stance for or against Internet gaming. Instead,
they’re in a grey zone that has opened them up to offshore casinos.

Before we continue discussing this matter, let’s look at how section 637:2
II(d) of New Hampshire’s constitution defines gaming:

“To risk something of value upon a future contingent event not under one’s
control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that something of value
will be received in the event of a certain outcome.”

Under New Hampshire law, any form of gambling not approved by the state is
illegal; but the lack of words like “computer,” “Internet” and “mobile device”
leaves some room for interpretation here.

Let’s discuss these interpretations below while answering some important
questions about New Hampshire iGaming.

Is Online Gambling Legal in New Hampshire?

Internet gaming isn’t legal in the Granite State. But as discussed above,
it’s not explicitly illegal either.

The U.S. government has never banned iGaming on a federal level. The closest
thing to a ban is the
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)
, which prevents American
financial institutions form processing iGaming transactions.

Many offshore casinos have found a legal way around this, including the
unregulated cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin.

Another point worth mentioning is the

Federal Wire Act of 1961
, which bans certain types of gaming across state
lines.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice was asked to give their
interpretation of the Federal Wire Act, and they stated that it only applies to
sports betting, meaning online casino games and poker sites aren’t inherently
illegal.

Ultimately, the federal government leaves it up to states to decide how to
handle Internet gaming, and New Hampshire hasn’t banned the activity in their
criminal code.

Can I Get Arrested for Gambling Online in New Hampshire?

The Granite State has never arrested anybody for gambling online, and we
don’t foresee them doing so at any point in the future.

In fact, it’s very rare for any state to pursue legal action against an
online gambler – even when the activity is banned.

New Hampshire generally tolerates Internet gaming and doesn’t even have any
criminal language aimed at operators. Therefore, we can’t see a realistic
scenario where you’d be arrested for iGaming in New Hampshire.

Are Offshore Gaming Sites Legal in New Hampshire?

Offshore casinos are mostly located in Antigua & Barbuda, Costa Rica, Curacao
and Panama. These jurisdictions offer licenses to offshore companies along with
mild oversight.

These licenses do not, however, apply to New Hampshire or any other U.S.
state. This means that offshore gaming sites aren’t technically legal in the
Granite State.

New Hampshire fails to directly address individuals or companies who offer
Internet gaming. In fact, we don’t see one piece of language in their criminal
code that covers online gaming operators.

Much like iGaming itself, offshore casinos also lie in New Hampshire’s grey
area.

Are Offshore Gaming Sites Safe?

The troubling thing about offshore casinos is that they aren’t subject to
U.S. government regulations. This means that an online casino or sportsbook
could close up in the middle of the night and avoid honoring player deposits.

This doomsday scenario is really rare in the gaming world. Successful
Internet casinos and poker sites need repeat business, which is only gained
through good service.

Follow the tips provided under the next question in order to choose quality
offshore gaming sites that won’t rip you off.

How do I Find a Good Online Casino?

Here are some crucial factors that you want to look at before depositing at
an offshore site:

  • Longevity & Reputability
  • These two aspects go hand-in-hand because you
    want a reputable site that’s been in business for a while. The longer track
    record of success they have, the higher the chances are that you’re dealing
    with a good company.

  • Plenty of Games / Lines
  • Everybody loves variety, and this is why it
    pays to pick an online casino/poker site with a wide range of games and a
    sportsbook that offers countless lines.

  • Welcome Bonus w / Reasonable Requirements
  • Any decent online casino or
    poker room will offer a signup bonus. But how realistic are the wagering
    requirements behind earning the bonus? Lighter requirements mean that you
    have a better chance to collect your bonus cash.

  • Frequent Promotions
  • Promos are great because they offer you an
    opportunity to earn extra cash. This is why you should check out the
    promotions section at any online casino, poker room or sportsbook you’re
    interested in.

  • Tournaments
  • Casino and poker tournaments are a fun way to spice up
    your gaming. Check to see what kind of tourneys are offered at prospective
    casinos and poker sites.

  • Customer Service
  • Every quality gaming site should have good customer
    support. If a company doesn’t offer this, then it’s a huge red flag.

  • Deposit Options
  • One more crucial aspect to look at is the
    banking options. Most New Hampshire-friendly casinos and poker rooms take
    Bitcoin, Visa and/or Mastercard.

Also On This Page

More Gambling Laws in New Hampshire

  • Casino Games: Illegal
  • Sports Betting: Illegal
  • Poker: Legal
  • Racing Betting: Legal
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Bingo: Legal
  • Charitable Gaming: Legal
  • Social Gambling: Illegal

Casinos: Illegal


Most U.S. states have either commercial casinos or tribal casino – But not New
Hampshire, which remains without a major casino within it’s borders.

In 2009, Gov. John Lynch created the New Hampshire Gaming Study Commission to
assess the economic and social impact of commercial casinos. The following year,
the commission stated that casinos create new jobs,
but they also bring about social problems.

In 2012, Gov. Maggie Hassan promised during her election campaign that she
would work to get casinos legalized. Hassan lived up to her campaign promise in
office, but her efforts failed to garner the necessary support.

In In 2014, the State House defeated casino legislation by a slim 173-172
margin.

Charitable Gaming: Legal


While New Hampshire doesn’t have any casinos, they do have some of the
most-liberal charity gambling laws in the U.S.

In fact, approved businesses/organizations can offer Vegas style gaming like
table games and poker. But there are a few catches to worry about:

  • Businesses must partner with charities and donate 35% of revenue.
  • Betting limits for every game except poker are capped at $4 per
    round.
  • Slot machines are not permitted for charity purposes (Section
    287-D:1 III).

These rules may sound restrictive, but then again, New Hampshire is one of
the few states to allow charity blackjack, craps, roulette and three-card poker.

Essentially, the Granite State has a number of mini casinos floating around.
This is a far cry from the mega-casino resorts in nearby Massachusetts, but it’s
better than nothing.

Section 647:1 IV(a) discusses what counts as a qualified charity group:

“… means any bona fide religious, charitable, civic, veterans’, or fraternal
or church organization, including police and firemen’s organizations which shall
have been registered with the secretary of state for at least 2 years.”

Lottery: Legal


New Hampshire was the first in America to launch a lottery, doing so in 1964.
Today, they sell a variety of tickets, including Gimme 5, Hot Lotto, Lucky For
Life, Mega Millions, Pick3, Pick4, Powerball and Tri-State Megabucks.

One interesting thing about the New Hampshire Lottery is that players can
purchase subscriptions, where they continue receiving tickets on a regular
basis.

Poker: Legal


Poker is legal under New Hampshire’s charity gaming laws. This has led to the
opening of several poker clubs around the state.

This includes the 4Jacks Poker Room, Aces and Eights Poker Room and Casino,
Manchester Poker Room, Poker Room at One Lafayette and Seabrook Greyhound Park
and Poker Room.

Racing: Legal


New Hampshire used to offer both legal greyhound and horse racing, but
they’ve since banned greyhound racing – like many other states – and no longer
run live horse races for lack of support.

Residents can still bet on simulcast racing, though, with facilities at
Rockingham Park and Seabrook Greyhound Park.

Social Gambling: Illegal


This state is one of the few that outright bans social gaming. Section 647:2
I.A(a) of the criminal code discusses this as follows:

“A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if such person knowingly and unlawfully:
(a) Permits gambling in any place under the person’s control.”

The phrase “any place under the person’s control” can mean somebody’s home,
business or rental property.

Given that New Hampshire doesn’t address social gambling at any other point
in their constitution, private poker games and other gaming functions should be
considered illegal.

Gambling Venues in New Hampshire

New Hampshire may not be the most-liberal state in regard to gambling, but
they do have numerous charity gaming venues.

These establishments operate much like smaller casinos. Some differences,
though, include that they can’t offer slot machines and 35% of their profits
must go to charity.

The lack of slot machines will be a turn-off to some players, but then again,
it’s hard to complain when you have access to a number of Vegas-style games like
blackjack, craps, roulette and poker.

Here are a few of the largest charity gambling businesses found in New
Hampshire:

New Hampshire Map

    1) 4Jacks Poker Room

    78 Wakefield St, Rochester, NH 03867

    2) Aces and Eights Poker Room and Casino

    169 Ocean Blvd Hampton, NH 03842

    3) Boston Billiard Club and Casino

    55 Northeastern Blvd, Nashua, NH 03062

    4) Keene Casino

    222 West St, Keene, NH 03431

    5) Lakes Region Casino (a.k.a. Lodge at Belmont)

    1265 Laconia Rd, Belmont, NH 03220

    6) Manchester Poker Room

    1279 S Willow St, Manchester, NH 03103

    7) Seabrook Greyhound Park and Poker Room

    319 New Zealand Rd, Seabrook, NH 03874

    8) The River Casino and Sports Bar

    53 High St, Nashua, NH 03060

History of Gambling in New Hampshire

As covered earlier, New Hampshire was the first state to launch a modern
lottery. They’re also noted for creating very liberal charity gaming laws in the
1970s.

But New Hampshire’s gambling history begins earlier than this. The first type
of gaming that they legalized was pari-mutuel betting in 1933.

Like in many other parts of the U.S., pari-mutuel betting was very successful
in New Hampshire, but the racing industry began declining when charity casinos
and other forms of gaming became more prevalent.

By 2013, all live racing ceased due to poor financial performance.

State politicians began exploring commercial gaming in the late 2000s. The
matter came to a House vote in 2014, being defeated by one vote.

New Hampshire has remained the same in terms of gambling since then, but it’s
possible that we could see changes in the future.

1923

State legislature legalizes pari-mutuel betting. Rockingham Park becomes state’s first horseracing track.

1949

New Hampshire legalizes bingo and pull-tab tickets for charity purposes.

1963

New Hampshire creates the United States’ first modern lottery.

1964

Voters approve the lottery in 198 out of 211 cities.

1971

Greyhound racing & betting is approved.

1973

Seabrook Greyhound Park (and Poker Room) opens.

1977

New Hampshire legalizes charity casino games.

1985

Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont from America’s first multi-state lottery.

1991

Simulcast horseracing betting approved.

2008

Legislature votes down bill for racinos.

2009

Greyhound racing is banned.

2012

Sweepstakes cafes are banned.

2013

Live horseracing ceases because of poor financial performace.

2014

Bill to legalize commercial casino loses by by a 173-172 margin in the State House.

2016

Rockingham Park closes after 110 years of operation

Bill to legalize commercial casinos fails in State Senate by a 13-11 vote.

New Hampshire Gambling FAQ

As stated earlier, the Granite State has no legal language that either
approves or bans online gaming. This makes New Hampshire a grey area where
residents can access many offshore casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks.

Of course, as with any grey area, there are numerous questions surrounding
New Hampshire’s iGaming market. Let’s explore some of the most-frequently asked
questions about their online gaming scene.

Will New Hampshire Legalize Online Gambling?

At the time of this writing, Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey are the only
states that have legalized and regulated online gaming, and the common theme
among all three is that iGaming sites must be partnered with their land-based
casinos.

Here are a few examples:

  • WSOP.com and Caesars Interactive in Nevada.
  • 888poker.com and Wynn in NV.
  • 888casino.com and Caesars Interactive in New Jersey.
  • NJ.Partypoker.com and Borgata in NJ.
  • VirgingCasino.com and Tropicana in NJ.

New Hampshire doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar casinos. Until they legalize
and build land-based casinos, it’s highly unlikely that they will regulate
online gaming.

Why is New Hampshire Trying to Decriminalize Online Gambling? Isn’t It a Grey Area?

In January 2017, State House Rep. Eric Schleien introduced HB 562, which
seeks to decriminalize gambling. The legislation is a simple excerpt into the
state constitution, which you can see below:

“Amend RSA 647:2,V by inserting after subparagraph (c) the following new
subparagraph: (d) Gambling done over an Internet connection on a website on the
Internet.”

This line would be added to gambling exemptions listed under RSA 647.2, which
covers banned gaming activities. Currently, only charity casinos & poker rooms,
amusement games and cruise ships are exempt from illegal gambling.

We applaud Rep. Schleien’s efforts to clarify that iGaming isn’t illegal, but
we’re not sure that the amendment is needed.

As covered before, New Hampshire is in a grey area regarding online gaming.
They’ve also yet to arrest anybody or go after an offshore operator.

HB HB 562 is being reviewed by a committee at this time.

Are Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in New Hampshire?

Much like their non-stance on iGaming, New Hampshire has also avoided making
a ruling on daily fantasy sports (DFS).

This is a change from dozens of other states, which have either regulated DFS
or banned the activity until further inspection.

Industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel have continued operating in New
Hampshire because there’s no rule against doing so.

In January 2017, House Rep. Gary Azarian introduced HB 580, which is an
effort to legalize and regulate DFS. This bill would see the Lottery Commission
oversee DFS sites, and require operators to pay a 5% tax on gross revenue.

Rep. Azarian explained his reasoning behind the bill by saying, “It’s going
to be a global entertainment industry, the state of New Hampshire can get in on
the ground floor.”

The State Senate passed the legislation by a 20-3 margin. The bill must also
pass the House and receive Gov. Chris Sununu’s approval.

Additional Resources

The main gaming authorities in New Hampshire include the Racing and
Charitable Gaming Division and the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. They also
have a Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority that weighs in on gambling matters.

Here’s a closer look at each of these organizations.

  • Racing and Charitable Gaming Division
  • The Charitable Gaming Division is actually a division of the Lottery
    Commission. They preside over charity casinos, poker rooms and simulcast racing.
    The Charitable Gaming Division used to govern live racing too, but the horse
    tracks are only used for charitable gaming facilities now.

  • New Hampshire Lottery Commission
  • The NH Lottery Commission is the state’s primary gaming authority, managing
    all of the lottery products and payouts. They’re also the parent organization of
    the Charitable Gaming Division.

  • New Hampshire Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority
  • The Oversight Authority oversees gaming activities to ensure fair gaming and
    ensure public confidence in the state’s gambling industry.

The Future & Your Views

New Hampshire’s online gaming market is a total grey area.

They have no bans against Internet casino games, poker rooms, sportsbooks and
DFS sites. This makes the Granite State a good place for anybody who’s into
iGaming.

State politicians are currently discussing DFS regulation and decriminalizing
online gaming.

Neither measure seems needed right now due to the lack of bans, but it would
be nice to have the clarification that both forms of gaming are completely fine.

Odds are that New Hampshire won’t be legalizing and regulating their own
online gaming market any time soon. They don’t have any commercial casinos,
which have proven necessary in forming partnerships with regulated U.S. gaming
sites.

The Granite State will likely keep the status quo, which includes charitable
casinos, poker rooms and a lottery. At least the legislature is discussing
online gaming matters for future years, which could be a very good thing.