More than 200 New Hampshire residents gathered in town hall meetings throughout the state on Sunday to discuss the benefits and problems expanded gambling would bring to the Granite State.
Motivation for the meetings came from Gov. John Lynch’s appointment of a gambling study commission and the movement behind a bill promoted by Sen. Lou D’Allesandro that would permit slot machine facilities at six locations.
Principal beneficiary of the bill would be Las Vegas-based Millennium Gaming partners Bill Wortman and Bill Paulos, who have an option to convert Rockingham Park into a major gaming facility should the legislature approve expanded gaming.
This is D’Allesandro’s perennial attempt to expand gambling as a means of providing jobs and generating additional tax revenue to help with a state budget shortfall. His efforts have failed at least a dozen times.
Although the group that gathered in Salem – home of Rockingham Park racetrack that was built in 1906 – strongly favored adding video lottery machines to its gambling menu, most of the rest of the state split their feelings among supporters and opponents.
Supporters found the benefits to be self-evident while opponents expressed concern about the impact on their way-of-life, the potential increase in crime and gambling addiction.
A new wrinkle in the D’Allesandro bill would allow for the construction of one golf resort and convention center on the Massachusetts border – a plan tailored for a proposed $300 million project at Green Meadow Golf Club in Hudson.
Also, the bill would permit table games to be installed at slots facilities provided the operators pay an additional licensing fee.
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Ray Poirier