Senate President Chuck Morse has repeatedly said he won’t include money derived from unapproved forms of gambling in the senate budget proposal. He reiterated that point as he pitched the casinos -- which could include a total of 5000 slot machines and 240 table games -- to the house ways and means committee.
"You know we are going to fund the needs of the people of the state of N.H. in the state budget, but I can assure you the wants are much greater."
But Morse also indicted that if expanded gambling passes, lawmakers will soon have more money to spend. The bill envisions $120 million in casino licensing fees.
"So I would tell you this is an opportunity, next year, to deliberate what we think should happen with this money."
The bill would divide future casino proceeds between the state, counties, host communities and abutting towns. Some money would go to a problem gambling fund; another $25 million is earmarked for property tax relief. Critics of the bill say gambling will damage the state's image and hurt existing businesses.