NH House Rejects Casino Bill
CONCORD, NH (CBS) – A proposed casino in New Hampshire appears to be dead.
It is a major defeat for New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan who pushed for a casino since her campaign.
A house committee recently recommended against the casino bill, but this afternoon lawmakers had a chance to revoke that recommendation and put a casino to a vote of the entire house.
But after a lengthy debate today, they voted 199-164 not to put the issue to the full house.
The governor released a statement minutes after the vote.
“It is disappointing to see the House of Representatives break from the New Hampshire tradition of open and thorough debate…,” said Hassan. “Without passing SB 152, the path will be more difficult, but the people of New Hampshire expect us to do difficult things.”
Supporters of a casino said it would bring jobs and revenue to the state. They feared higher taxes without the casino revenue.
“Bottom line this is non-tax revenue for our citizens,” said Derry Representative. Jim Webb, a casino supporter.
But opponents worried about crime, gambling addiction, and casino proliferation across the state.
“This casino legislation has been promoted as one high-end highly regulated casino,” said Stratham Representative Patricia Lovejoy, a casino opponent. “It will never remain as just one casino.”
The proposal called for one casino with up to 5000 slot machines and 150 table games.
It is possible the casino issue could be revisited in the New Hampshire Senate this session, but that appears unlikely.
Millennium Gaming, which backed a casino located in Salem, released a statement Wednesday evening.
“It’s unfortunate that the House chose today to stand against the people of New Hampshire and their 2-to-1 support for casino gambling in our state,” said Rich Killion, a spokesperson for Millennium. “We are heartened by the strong leadership by the Governor and Senate and House bill sponsors on this issue. They know that ceding to Massachusetts the thousands of new jobs, the millions in revenue and its significant economic development is a decision we’ll regret for generations to come.”