New Hampshire Lawmakers Likely to Revisit Casino Expansion Issue
Two hot-button issues in the United States right now – the legalization of marijuana and the expansion of gambling – are likely to be on the docket for New Hampshire lawmakers in the near-term, this according to Valley News, which reports that new land-based casino legislation is set to include stringent regulations.
The lack of such oversight is cited as being one of the reasons that a bill that would have allowed the development of a casino in the Live Free or Die state failed to gain passage in the New Hampshire House of Representatives last year.
Governor has pushed for lone casino property in state
Despite the outspoken support of New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, a bill that would have permitted the construction of a single brick and mortar casino in the state that passed in the Senate lost in the House by a mere thirty-five votes.
Though there are four working pieces of legislation in New Hampshire that deal with the casino expansion issue, one that is being supported by the state’s bipartisan Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority is said to directly address regulatory procedures that were said to be lacking in the previous bills.
“My hope is that as we have this debate, people will really try to understand and separate truth from falsehood. There will still be people who don’t like casinos or gambling. That is a very reasonable position. But let’s have an honest discussion,” said Democratic New Hampshire Representative Richard Ames, a member of the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority who is in favor of the new casino legislation.
Governor Hassan is also said to be in support of this bill, which differs from the other three pieces of legislation in that it allows for “the allocation of casino proceeds to the Legislature; it requires a casino to provide space and money for treating problem gambling; it includes detailed regulations informed by four months of study and expert advice; and it does not allocate space inside the casino for charitable gaming,” according to Valley News.
Competition for gamblers and revenue is particularly fierce on east coast
Of course, revenue is at the heart of all plans for casino expansion, and perhaps in no place else in the U.S. is competition for gamblers and their attendant cash more cutthroat than up and down the east coast of the country.
As Massachusetts prepares to issue up to three licenses for the construction of Nevada-style casino resorts in the coming months, other states along the east coast are keeping a close eye on developments there.
States that already have casino industries, such as Connecticut, are looking into expanding dining, entertainment, and retail options to keep pace with competitors and to keep revenue from driving across state lines.
Boston, where Steve Wynn is in the running to build a new $1.2 billion resort casino, has been touted as having the potential to become the east coast’s answer to Las Vegas. Whether the Massachusetts casino market will have the power that some are predicting remains to be seen, and the new properties aren’t expected to open until sometime in 2015 or 2016.
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