Big loss for N.H. slots

Feb 5, 2002 7:53 AM

As forecast in GamingToday three weeks ago, the N.H. House foiled efforts by the state’s four racetracks to get approval for video lottery terminals installed at their tracks. The surprise was the size of the defeat: 217-130 to kill the bill.

“Certainly, I thought it would be a closer vote,” said one lawmaker who strongly supported the VLT bill.

“We had a number of people tell us that they would support the proposal but when the votes were counted, they were on the other side. It’s too bad because Rockingham Park officials are now saying they may have to close up without the additional revenues,” he said.

Still to be considered is legislation being considered in the Senate. “Judging by the mood of the House,” said the legislator, “I wouldn’t be too hopeful that the Senate bill will go very far.”

One of the big losers, in addition to the tracks, is Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET). When the company acquired Showboat Corp., it also took over a loan Showboat had made to the operators of Rockingham Park with the provision that it would share evenly with the track in any slot machine revenue.