The state Senate narrowly voted Thursday to allow two casinos to operate in New Hampshire. The surprise move by a well-known gambling advocates follows the New Hampshire House voting to allow up to 10 sports betting facilities.
Gambling has not been a front-burner issue in Concord this year, but it soon could be.
The Senate, which has backed numerous casino bills in the past decade, passed this one 13-11. The vote divided both caucuses. Perennial gambling backer Lou D'Allesandro told colleagues to give this plan a chance.
It's projected to net the state $60 million in licensing fees and more than $100 million in taxes a year.
"Vote this bill ought to pass, send it to the House, third largest legislative body in the English-speaking world, which by the way overwhelmingly, passed sports betting, overwhelmingly, and let them make the decision," said D'Allesandro, a Democrat from Manchester.
The House did pass sports betting, which is also backed by Governor Chris Sununu. The House has never voted for a bill to allow full-fledged casinos.