N.H. Senate Backs Gambling

Mar 14, 2013

The New Hampshire Senate has voted 16-8 to authorize a single casino on the Massachusetts border. The Senate margin is the strongest yet for a casino bill. But the real fight on this issue will be in the New Hampshire House.

There was no doubt that this bill to allow 5000 slot machines and 150 table games would get out of the Senate. It’s strongly backed by the Senate President, and by ranking Democrats. When its lead sponsor, Manchester Senator Lou D’Alessandro, took the floor, he stressed to colleagues that this may be gambling’s year.

"We started this journey 15 years ago, and  the path has been bumpy to say the least, but it seems now the path has been cleared in one direction, temporarily."

After the vote, Governor Hassan said in a statement that without revenue from a casino, New Hampshire residents could be “denied access to the basic services needed to support their health and safety.”

But this bill faces a tough fight in the House, and the Governor appears to know it.

Earlier this week, at her office’s urging, the director of New Hampshire’s lottery commission began reaching out to individual lawmakers on the House Ways and Means committee on behalf of the bill.

The state Republican party says this may amount to improper lobbying, something Hassan denies.