A lot of dough, but no go in New Hampshire

Jun 23, 2009 5:06 PM
by Ray Poirier | Lobbying in New Hampshire, where legislative bodies of 400 representatives and 24 senators meet just one year of their two-year term for a total stipend of $200, normally doesn’t require a major outlay of cash.

So, the reported $140,000 spent on behalf of the Millennium Gaming partnership of Bill Wortman and Bill Paulos of the Cannery properties in Las Vegas, showed just how important they felt getting slot machines at Rockingham Park in Salem was to them.

Wortman and Paulos, who hold an option on the venerable horse track that they plan to exercise if the lawmakers allow slot machines at the facility, have offered to spend many millions of dollars to upgrade the track to a first-class slots emporium.

Their efforts appeared lost when the House voted overwhelmingly to kill the racino legislation proposed in that body.

But, through the efforts of longtime state Senator Lou D’Allesandro, the ranking Democrat in the upper chamber, the proposed state budget included $200 million in revenue from slots at the state’s four pari-mutuel facilities.

The issue was then taken up by a conference committee which last week, through the heavy pressure from House members, defeated all Senate efforts to include expanded gambling to help balance the two-year budget.

Instead, it is expected that the state will furlough some workers; increase the rooms and meals tax to 9 percent and impose a 10 percent tax on all gambling winnings over $600.