Time for New Hampshire to make gambling decision

May 13, 2013 6:36 PM

A New Hampshire House study committee has spent the past few weeks studying a Senate bill that calls for a single casino license, and has listened to the pros and cons developed by sub-committees.

Now, it’s time to put a gambling package together. And, this will be done on Wednesday, May 15, when the joint House Finance and Ways and Means Committee formulates a piece of legislation the entire 400 House members can address. That could take place as early as May 22.

A number of modifications to the approved Senate bill were offered by the sub-committees, including reducing the licensing fee from $80 million to $50 million but boosting the gaming taxes on both slots and table games.

The group also advised that at least $400 million be spent on the facility with no deductions for development costs. On that subject, Bill Wortman, a partner with Bill Paulos in Millennium Gaming, the company that holds an option on Rockingham Park in Salem, showed a rendering of his proposed casino at a town hall meeting that included a hotel, spa and entertainment area. The changes in the project would boost the cost to about $600 million, he said.

One of the major changes in the proposed legislation dealt with the gaming proceeds. The sub-committee recommended all revenues should go to the state’s general fund and not be allocated to various departments and projects as proposed in the Senate bill.

Other concerns involved the impact on charitable gaming proceeds, the increase in the number of gambling addicts and the effort it would have on entertainment facilities that would have to compete for talent.

Also, it was felt a special commission should be appointed to establish regulations and to oversee the casinos operations.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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