New Hampshire Lawmaker to Review Casino Gaming Expansion Proposal

Senators in the state of New Hampshire will once again review the expanded gaming issue on May 10th, 2010. A couple of important changes have been place to legislation that the state Senate already approved and Senators will evaluate these changes during a series of meetings. Senator Lou D'Allesandro has authored the newest plan which calls for less gaming licenses than the first bill.

Sen. D'Allesandro is proposing four licenses instead of six licenses and also would like to install ten thousand slot machines at each casino facility of 17,000 slot machines. The Senate has decided to go back to the issue because the first proposal that they approved did not make it through the state House. State legislators dismissed the original plan by a 212-158 vote.

D'Allesandro believes that by placing a limit on the number of licensesat at, the new gaming expansion plan would have a better chance of being approved in the House. Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins said that the New Hampshire House have sent a clear message with the dismissal of the first proposal that the gaming expansion was too big.

Dawkins said that the Senate will likely approve the new proposal again and being in a smaller scale compared with the first one, it would have a good chance to be approved in the House. D'Allesandro has improved the other areas of the gaming expansion proposal as well.

Sen. D'Allesandro claims that new rules and regulations would also be added that would make the casino gaming industry in New Hampshire one of the most regulated one in the United States.

The state of New Hampshire is just one of the states in the northeastern part of the US that is planning to expand their casino gaming offering. The states of Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Maine and Delaware are also planning their own gaming expansion.

New Casino Seeks to Add More Slots (USED -

Manitoba's newest casino is experiencing a problem in handling its customers, because business has been so good. The casino is having a hard time accommodating the number of customers who want to gamble on the slot machines or play a hand of blackjack on the gaming tables.

The successful South Beach Casino is located on the Brokenhead First Nation near Grand Beach, and is a new business that opened just over a year ago.

The operators of the native-owned casino let on that some gamblers have to wait so long in line to use slot machines that some just opt to give up and leave.

Chair of the South Beach board Furlon Baker said that the casino is seeking for permission from the province to have the number of slot machines increased from the current 300.

"Our goal is to double what we have," he said in an interview. "We need at least a minimum of about 150 machines more to be able to accommodate the demand."

Provincial officials have turned down the requests from the casino so far. The government said that it will not consider adding machines until May of next year, as outline in the terms of its agreement with South Beach.

New Hampshire Charities Protests Slot Machine Installation at Racing Parks

Some New Hampshire non-profit organizations protested a Senate budget proposal for expanded gaming on June 16th, 2009. They said that their non-profit games will be severely affected by the video slot machines. But gaming supporters said that video slots will not affect non-profit organizations.

The Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gaming stated that a proposal to permit 13,000 video slot machines at four gaming facilities in New Hampshire will threaten the charities' ability to earn their own non-profit gambling revenues.

The group, which includes representatives from charities like the Dover Rotary Club to the Senior Olympics, states that if players have a choice between winning $50 at a bingo game or much bigger winnings from slot machines, the slots will win. But gaming supporters say that is not the case.

Millenium Gaming is a Las Vegas organization that wants to install 5,000 slot machines at Salem's Rockingham Park. Millenium spokesman Rich Killion said that thirty-six charities, like the Child Advocacy Center and the Salem Historical Society, offered games at Rockingham Park last year.

Killion said that lat year; the charities received a total of $1.8 million. Killion said that Rockingham will permit charities to offer casino tables like the game of poker at the park.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Studies the Merits of Video Slot Machines

The gaming expansion debate in the state of New Hampshire is in full blast with Senators urging House legislators to pass proposed gaming laws. The approval of such laws could bring millions of dollars in new revenue to the state. Video slot machines are the subject of the latest initiative by state Senators to bring more gaming to New Hampshire.

Democratic Senators are hoping that they can convince the House to move quickly on this expansion. The Senate has already approved the Bill, but it is receiving considerable resistance in the House. The House Local and Regulated Revenues Committee will be recommending dismissing the legislation.

The Members of the Committee voted thirteen-seven against the Bill. Even with the "no" vote, the House has considered making some modification to the Senate Bill that would scale down the amount of gambling locations allowed to offer video slot machines. Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz said on April 15th, 2010 that this is just the standard back and forth between legislators.

In the end, the state of New Hampshire will be hard-pressed to block expanding gambling for long because of all the rapid gaming expansion happening in the northeastern part of the U.S. Schwartz was referring to states like Delaware and Pennsylvania that have increased the stakes in the race to become the gambling capital of the East Coast.

Pennsylvania legislators approved casino table games earlier this year and in Delaware, sports wagering was approved in 2009. Other states in the U.S. such as Maryland, New York, Connecticut and Maine are also in the process of considering expanded casino gaming.

New Hampshire Officials Evaluates Slot Machine Proposal

A move to permit slot machines at six locations, including the Rockingham Park in Salem, cleared a vital hurdle last week, but still faces a major battle. Senate Bill 489, which is sponsored by Lou D'Allesandro, (D-Manchester), was approved in a 14-10 vote by the Senate on March 24th, 2010. It has been given to the House, which has been known to be very tough on gaming legislation.

State Representatives from Southern New Hampshire said that although the House may be considering slot machines, there are still a lot of members who do not want to entertain the idea of expanded gaming. Rep. Bob Elliott (R-Salem) said that there will be more House Representatives convinced this year that the condition of the state economy is desperate and they do not want to implement more cuts.

But Rep. Elliott said that he don't think that it will be enough. Rep. Roger Wells (R-Hampstead) said that he believes some members are warming up to the idea of gambling as an option to avoid tax increase or budget cuts. But Rep. Wells said that there are many who will never change their views on gambling. Rep Wells said that his position is that if you are not in favor of expanded gambling, then that means that you are in favor of budget cuts.

The House begins deliberations on the bill with a hearing on March 30th, 2010. Beyond the House of Representatives lies an even larger problem-a critical governor. Gov. John Lynch has been hesitant to take a solid position on expanded gaming in the Granite State, but has voiced criticism to this slots bill.

Gov. Lynch's spokesman, Colin Manning, said that one of his concerns from the start has been proliferation. Manning said that last year, there was a proposal for five slots locations and the gaming bill this year expands it to six locations.

The proposal calls for slot machines to be permitted at Seabrook Greyhound Track, Rockingham Park, The Lodge at Belmont, Green Meadow Golf Club in Hudson and two unidentified areas in the North County.

All in all, it would permit for 17,000 slot machines. Manning said that Lynch also does not like the absence of a regulatory oversight in the proposal and wants to wait until a gambling study commission he started last year finishes its work. It is scheduled to release a final report in May 2010.

Manning said that Lynch said that everyone should have a look at that commission report. But time is running out for Rockingham Park, according to Rockingham Park General Manager Ed Callahan. Gaming Revenue at the Rockingham Park has been steadily dropping since the early 1990's and its aging horse stables are on the verge of collapsing.

Earlier this month, live horse racing was canceled for 2010. In Rockingham Park's heyday, it employed more than six hundred individuals and it has contributed more than $330 million in tax and regulatory fees for the state treasury since 1933.

Callahan said that last year, Rockingham Park only produced $2.7 million for the state and it now employs only about 220 individuals.

Callahan said that the state does not owe Rockingham Park anything; he just wants an opportunity to update its offering with the times. Supporters of the gaming legislation paints D'Allesandro's proposal as an option for economic recovery. If slot machines are permitted in the state, Millennium Gaming promises a $450 million renovation of the park and a return to thoroughbred horse racing.

Millenium Gaming said that the proposal would create 3,600 construction jobs in New Hampshire, including 2,000 jobs at Rockingham Park. Millennium spokesperson Rich Killion said that more than one thousand permanent employment opportunities would be created from the proposal. The state would earn the benefits of a thirty-five percent tax on gaming revenue and collect $220 million in initial licensing costs.

A recent change to the bill calls for the first $50 million to go toward the state Department of Health and Human Services. But the director of the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling, Jim Rubens, said that it will take some time for those licensing fees to come in and the money would not resolve current budget deficits.

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