Despite passing in the State Senate, the New Hampshire casino bill has been shut down by the House. It’s a tough blow for proponents of legalized casino gambling in the state. Many now wonder whether or not casino gaming will ever become legal here.
We’re going to be looking into what exactly this bill would allow. We will also explain the reasons for the House voting against the bill passing. It’s an interesting time for New Hampshire’s gambling industry!
New Hampshire has never been a gambling destination. Lawmakers here have not taken many steps to open up the state’s gaming industry. The one exception is a lottery, formed back in 1963.
There are no casinos in this state. New Hampshire’s criminal code maintains that virtually all forms of gambling are illegal:
“Gambling means 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.”
Even so, there are a few exceptions to the gambling rules set in place. Games of chance (such as blackjack and roulette) can be played here legally through a charitable organization. Today, there are hundreds of these “charitable gaming establishments” spread around the state. In recent years, there’s been a significant push for full-scale casinos in New Hampshire.
Senator Lou D’Allesandro is the primary sponsor of this casino bill. He has pushed for legalized casino gambling for years. Unfortunately, his plans are failing to gain any traction.
This bill, called Senate Bill 310, is the most extensive gaming bill ever presented in the state. If passed, it allows for two casinos to begin operating. These casinos can offer both table games and lottery machines.
These two casinos could hold up to 5,000 lottery machines in total. The tax rate on lottery machines and table games here is standard amongst most casinos today.
Under Bill 310, casinos would be forced to pay 35% on all revenue earned from lottery machines. Revenue earned from table games will be taxed at 18%. Despite the potential for massive earnings to the state, this bill has been suspended indefinitely in the House.
It’s an extremely unfortunate development for gambling fans in New Hampshire. Senator Lou D’Allesandro has made progress over the years, gaining the support of former Governor Maggie Hassan, yet the House here seem determined to curb any gaming activities.
Casino fans in this state had reason to be hopeful earlier this year. The State Senate passed Bill 310 by a 13-11 margin back in March. Once again, however, the House crushed any hopes of the state opening legalized casinos by a 289-63 margin.
Critics of the New Hampshire casino bill claim there is too much competition from nearby states. Massachusetts and Maine both have casinos that many people in New Hampshire play at.
Willis Griffith, a Democrat from Manchester, recently commented on the bill being shut down:
“There may have been a time when casinos made sense for New Hampshire, but that time has without a doubt come and gone.”
It’s an interesting take, especially considering the projections that the state could earn up to $160 million in tax revenue by 2024.
As we mentioned earlier, the House has indefinitely suspended Bill 310. Any bills proposing similar regulations will now need to be passed in the House by a two-thirds margin. Interestingly, New Hampshire’s House passed a bill to allow sports betting back in March.
Why are casinos still illegal here? Do you think the House has a strong argument for pushing the New Hampshire casino bill aside? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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