Reporting Lauren Leamanczyk
SALEM, N.H. (CBS) – Beacon Hill is looking to bet again on casinos.
House lawmakers started debate Wednesday on a new gambling bill that would legalize three casinos and one slot parlor.
The bill would split Massachusetts into three regions, with one casino allowed in each.
But when all is said and done, we could actually have four casinos in our backyard.
New Hampshire is also looking at expanding gambling and one of those casinos could end up just over the border.
WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports
At Rockingham Park, the plans are ready for a 450 million dollar casino and race track.
All they need is the go ahead from state lawmakers. Bills are being introduced in the House and the Senate.
Right now the only place to see racing at Rockingham Park is on TV, but if these bills pass, they say you could see horses back on the track.
A gaming expansion has failed in New Hampshire before, and opponents say expanded competition is no reason to push it through now.
Katrina Swett, who is with the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling says, “It will really hit our communities hard and cost us in terms of increased police expenses and all the social pathologies that come along with gambling.”
Chuck Morse, the Republican Senator from Salem wants a casino. He says it’s not a slam dunk but he thinks lawmakers will take a serious look — regardless of what Massachusetts does.
“That shouldn’t stop New Hampshire from moving forward,” says Senator Morse. “I think the biggest thing in New Hampshire that we see as a problem is we’re letting all these non-tax dollars leave New Hampshire.”
Managers at Rockingham say they could have a temporary casino built in eight months; a facility that would draw customers from the north and the south.