Gambling

Expanded Gambling: Will New Bill Change Minds?

Apr 21, 2014
Mark Menzies / Flickr/CC

After many failed attempts to pass a casino bill, supporters think they may finally have a winning hand -- proposing two casinos and a new revenue-sharing plan. Opponents are raising long-held concerns about gambling’s social costs, including addiction and crime. We’ll look at this new bill and its odds for passing.  

GUESTS: 

 A state senator who has tried for years to persuade New Hampshire lawmakers to legalize a casino is going to try again despite a House vote to reject one last week.

Sen. Lou D'Allesandro plans to ask the Senate to amend his bill Thursday to add the regulatory scheme in the defeated House bill and send it to the House in hopes his proposal will have a different outcome.

John Wardell via Flickr CC

The 173-144 voted showed house lawmakers remain skeptical of casino gambling.

This bill envisioned up to 5000 slot machines and 150 table games at one location, was touted as the product of study and hard-won experience.

Jaffrey Democrat Richard Ames was its lead sponsor.

"We took what we learned and make a New Hampshire plan."

But critics said the plan, which beefed up the regulations included in the proposal the House rejected last year, ceded too much power to a gambling authority.

limconcon / Flickr Creative Commons

After yet another casino bill failed last year, new versions have emerged – with new regulations attached in hopes of appeasing opponents.  Supporters say a casino would bring in much-needed revenue to the state. But opposition remains among those worried about social costs, and those who question whether it would be profitable, given expanded gambling elsewhere in New England.

GUESTS:

Sara Plourde / NHPR

New Hampshire's House has voted to allow electronic keno games to be played in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.  


NHPR Staff

  The Ways and Means Committee passed this casino bill as soon as the public testimony ended, but the full Senate is expected to slow things down by tabling the bill until the House considers a proposal allowing one casino with a beefed up regulatory scheme.

Prior to voting in favor of the senate plan, Derry Republican Jim Rausch observed what’s obvious to anyone who’s watched N.H.’s casino debate: without movement in the House gambling goes nowhere.    

JV via Flickr CC

Update: The Senate Ways & Means Committee approved SB 366, 4-1, this morning. Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster, was the lone vote in opposition to the bill, which would license two casinos. Senate President Chuck Morse said the legislation will now move to the full Senate. Morse said the Senate will likely table it and wait for the House to act on its own gambling bill. That legislation, drafted by members of the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authorityenvisions a single casino, which Gov. Maggie Hassan supports.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

On a recent afternoon at the Common Grounds Cafe, 200 yards from the New Hampshire border in Methuen, Mass, a handful of men sit along a short counter or at several tables in the back of the cafe.

Eyes moving back and forth from their pink and white betting slips to two wall-mounted video monitors, they wait for the next drawing of a popular electronic lottery game called Keno.

Keno Bill Sets Aside Funds to Treat Gambling Disorders

Jan 7, 2014

Legislation that would bring Keno to an estimated 250 bars and restaurants would, for the first time, establish a program to treat gambling addiction in New Hampshire.

An amendment to HB 485 would set aside 1 percent of the sales from Keno - about $435,000 - to the state Department of Health and Human Services for education, treatment and prevention services. William Butynski, D-Hindale, who proposed the amendment, says it’s time for lawmakers to recognize that even state-sponsored gambling such as the lottery can cause problems for a small percentage of people who play.

It’s been two years since Massachusetts’ gaming law took effect, but so far, not a single casino has been licensed or built.  The law allows for three regional resort casino licenses and one slots parlor.  Casino proposals in the Southeastern part of the state have stalled.

The Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling and Casino Free NH will be led by Concord businessman Steve Duprey,  former Chairman of the State Republican Party, and Harold Janeway,  former Democratic State Senator from Webster.

Duprey and Janeway were both active in the effort to kill the casino legislation backed by Governor Maggie Hassan earlier this year.  Janeway says their groups' new lobbying effort will focus on the N.H. House, which has never backed a casino bill.  He added that there is no time to waste.

A special panel tasked with developing casino regulations for New Hampshire may meet with its newly hired consultant at its meeting Thursday.

The New Hampshire Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority recently hired WhiteSand Gaming of Nevada and New Jersey to help it write regulations for lawmakers to consider next year. The panel has a Dec. 15 deadline to submit draft legislation.

The agreement with WhiteSand says its charges cannot exceed $135,000.

UMass Dartmouth Professor Clyde Barrow cited the states of Delaware, West Virginia, and Rhode Island as possible models for New Hampshire. All place gambling regulation under their states' lottery commissions - and none, said Barrow, needed to hire a huge number of people to do the job.

"As you can see in the case of Delaware and Rhode Island, which respectively have two and three casinos, have 59 and 51 employees respectively, and that is to supervise traditional lottery, virtual and live table games, VLTs and charitable gaming combined."

sarahelizamoody via Flickr Creative Commons

Our sunniest content of the week, all in one smart and snazzy hour. This week, misogyny online, the return of legal internet poker, an app that proves you're on a public beach, surprising summer reads, and a photographer's documentation of vanishing highway rest stops.

Online Poker's Big Gamble

Jul 8, 2013
Mr. L via flickr Creative Commons

More than two years have passed since the Department of Justice seized and shut down three major American online-gambling websites, charged site executives with bank fraud, and froze millions of dollars in player funds. Since then, social gaming from Zynga and the like has been thriving on social media sites, attracting millions of players to their digital tables, using only fake money. At the same time, real money gambling is also back on the internet - on April 30th, Station Casinos in Nevada became the first site to offer real online poker since the 2011 shutdown.  The questions are: will the for-profit sites draw millions of social players and will they put real money on the line?  Michael Kaplan is a contributing editor for Cigar Aficionado and has been covering the return of online gambling.

Leslie Jones, 1933 / Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

This week, NHPR has been taking a close look at what a casino would mean for the town of Salem, a likely location for a gambling establishment.  On Wednesday, the House voted down the idea of expanded gaming.  We end our series today with a look back at the best—and worst—times The Rock has faced.

Gambling has been front and center in New Hampshire politics since January.  Governor Hassan made a major political push for it, interest groups weighed in on both sides, and public policy groups came out with data on the possible effects of a Granite State casino. That's why today's vote in the House has been considered by many as maybe the biggest vote of the year. In the end, the House voted 199-164 to kill the casino bill. Today we'll have some of the major players of this debate and ask gaming advocate what's next for them.

Guests

Amanda Loder / NHPR

As the New Hampshire House prepares to vote on a casino bill this week, NHPR is bringing you a series of stories that look at the implications of opening a casino in the Granite State.  Today we turn our focus to the potential social costs related to gambling addiction: how the state is handling problem gambling now, and how it could in the future.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Amanda Loder / NHPR

Millennium Gaming brought leaders from Washington County, Pennsylvania to Concord to tout the benefits of a casino to lawmakers at a lunch meeting today.  Millennium runs The Meadows casino and racetrack in Washington.  If New Hampshire allows a casino at Rockingham Park, Millennium would develop it. 

Slots
Jeff Kubina / Flickr Creative Commons

Testimony turned emotional today as a House subcommittee considered the social costs of allowing a casino in New Hampshire.   Most of the comments focused on studies of gambling behavior and public policy.  The exception was Mell Brooks, of Littleton.  He discussed his five years as a restaurant owner in Oregon, where he was allowed to have five video slot machines. 

House Committees Hear Expert Testimony On Casinos

Apr 17, 2013

The joint House committee assigned to hear the casino bill backed by the state Senate and Governor Maggie Hassan got an earful today, as House members spent the day listing to experts.

The House votes on the "Stand Your Ground" repeal, which would again require people to attempt to retreat before using deadly force, and a bill to increase the state's gas tax; gambling remains a heavily-debated issue, with differing proposals in the House and Senate, and one that could be affected by who replaces Michael Delaney as Attorney General.

The Politics of Gambling

Mar 18, 2013
sincerelyhiten via flickr Creative Commons

Gambling in the United States has exploded over the last 30 years. More and more, budget-slashing states are becoming increasingly dependent on lottery and other gambling revenues, and politicians are lobbying for expanded gambling, including here in New Hampshire, where Governor Maggie Hassan has included a line item for $80 million in the budget for casino licensing fees. Hassan has been pushing hard for the construction of a single high-end casino near the Massachusetts border, but opponents point out that problem gambling is on the rise – in fact, pathological gambling is now being recognized on par with alcohol and drug addiction. In 2011, we spoke with investigative journalist Sam Skolnik, whose book, High Stakes: The Rising Costs of America’s Gambling Addiction, unpacks the rise of politically supported gambling, as well as its many hazards.

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.

An amendment to Senate Bill 152, which proposes a single casino in the state, provides details on how money designated for use in the North Country would be used.

Sen. Jeff Woodburn, a Democrat from Dalton, says his amendment:

1) Requires the funds would be managed by “three public members from the North Country appointed by the governor.” Each would serve a two-year term.

2) Requires the money would be used for “job creation, economic stability and other activities which improve the standard of living of residents of the North Country."

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.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Governor Hassan began her day before the Senate Ways and Means committee.  She delivered a pro-gambling pitch familiar from her budget address last week -- New Hampshire needs to act to authorize a casino with 5000 slot machines and 150 table games before similar facilities open in Massachusetts.

Hassan Makes Case For Casino In Budget Address

Feb 14, 2013
Double Spin 5 Times Pay $1 Slot Machine
Frank Bonilla / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Maggie Hassan used her budget address to propose a new, high-end casino. 

Governor Hassan’s budget banks on this casino generating $80 million in licensing fees.  And she said the state is already dealing with the social costs of gambling allowed in other states, without benefiting from the revenue.

Pages