Gambling Bill Has Consolation Prize For North Country - Maybe

Mar 4, 2013

A bill authorizing a casino with 500 slot machines and 150 table games faces its first vote in the senate ways and means committee Tuesday morning.

The proposal enjoys the backing of Governor Maggie Hassan and calls for the casino to be located on the Massachusetts border.

But as NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports, it’s also getting some attention in the North Country.

As drafted, Senate Bill 152, envisions a sending part of of the casino’s profits to the North Country for economic development.

Sen. Jeff Woodburn is a Democrat from Dalton.

He says he originally preferred having a casino in Northern New Hampshire, but he welcomes this plan because it would benefit the North Country.

“What we need is some help. Some small investments in the North Country can go a long way. We can turn things around.”

But Woodburn’s predecessor, former Senator John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin, is skeptical. Gallus has backed numerous casino bills in the past, including ones that to bring gambling to the Northern New Hampshire. He expects the provision to send money to the North Country will fail.

 “Let’s be real. It if gets out of the House, which is highly unlikely, the money for any North Country fund will be stripped from that bill. Let’s face it. They need a lot of money in Concord all over the place.”

The bill specifies no dollar amount earmarked for the North Country, just a portion of net profits from video lottery machines.

For NHPR News this is Chris Jensen