Manchester Sen. Lou D’Allesandro has once again attempted to authorize casino gambling at two locations in New Hampshire after 18 years of trying. It was just last Thursday that Senate Bill 242 cleared the Senate during in a bipartisan 13-10 vote. The same is now needed to be cleared by the five-member Senate Finance Committee so as to proceed to the House. D’Allesandro, who has been fighting a long battle for so many years said on Monday, “If we have to bring it back to the Senate floor and pass it again, that’s what we’ll do.”
However, at this juncture, its prospects are uncertain as three out of the six senators on the floor of the Senate of the Finance Committee have voted against the gambling bill. In the regime of the Democrats in the closest New Hampshire, casino gambling has ever been to legalizing in 2014. It was again in 2014, the bill failed just by one vote in the House, 173-172, in spite of the support from the governor and the Senate.
Senate Bill 242 calls for two casinos, which are one category-one license and one category-two license. The license of the first category is placed at $80 million, which will allow for 80 to 160 table games and 2,000 to 3,500 slot machines. On the other hand, the Category 2 license costs will be $40 million and it will allow for 25 to 80 table games and 750 to 1,500 slot machines. All the money would go to the host communities, neighbouring towns and the host county. It would also enable the state to resume a revenue sharing program with cities and towns.
The good part of the bill is that it would prohibit the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at casinos. In addition, it would fund to the gambling addiction recovery programs. The latest update on the story till now is that Attorney General and the Casino Free NH organization are opposing the bill. They have already successfully fought off previous efforts. However, D’Allesandro has to say, “How can 424 people in the Legislature deny the public what it wants, and deny it repeatedly?”
D’Allesandro is very optimistic this time. According to him, “I have reason to believe that if I can talk to them, and I’ll go to them one on one, we have a good chance. There are no big outside lobbyists involved now. We are talking about something that’s totally New Hampshire. I have no ulterior motive but to do what I think is in the best interest of the state.”