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Casino Gambling Falls Flat In N.H. House

Allegra Boverman

The New Hampshire House has again rejected casino gambling, killing the bill by a vote of 208 to 156.

On Wednesday, more than a dozen lawmakers spoke for or against the measure – many others left the chamber saying “they have heard this all before.”

Similar bills have been debated in Concord for the past 15 years, but none have ever passed the House.

Backers of the bill argue it will reel in $80 to $130 million in annual revenue, create jobs  and would collect $120 million in licensing fees.

Longtime casino opponent Republican David Hess of Hooksett argued this would come at a steep cost. “Any money that comes from a casino, is money that other people have lost. Our fellow citizens, our next-door neighbors, ourselves, if you are the gambling sort,” told colleagues.

But Stratham Representative Patricia Lovejoy told the Chamber N.H. would end up the loser. “Casino gambling will cannibalize our local businesses and unlike our existing businesses the profits from casino gambling will not flow back to our state but flow out of the state to out-of-state and out-of-country owners,” she said.

Governor Maggie Hassan visited House Democrats before the vote to urge their support.  The Governor has long favored allowing one casino but last week said she would sign off on two casinos as long as the second casino was built only after a review.  

Currently Vermont and New Hampshire are the only two states in New England without casino gambling.

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