New Hampshire Gambling Bill Snuffed Out by House of Reps
Senate Bill 152, which the New Hampshire Senate passed at an overwhelming vote of 16-8 last March, failed to garner support from the State’s House of Representative last Wednesday. In fact, the bill failed to make it to the House Floor for full voting, as one of the committees recommended its exclusion from their deliberation and discussions.
The expanded gambling bill proposed measures that would allow a single casino to operate 5,000 video slot machines and 150 casino table games such as blackjack, roulette and baccarat.
A House motion to reject the bill’s passing was approved on a vote of 199-164, while the votes for a subsequent motion to reconsider tallied at 212-152, which practically snuffed out the bill’s chances of passing the House.
Rep. David Hess (R-Hooksett) stressed that the gambling bill still has the same shortcomings previously pointed out by those who oppose the bill. Rep. Hess cited as examples the lack of legal review and questionable measures for regulatory oversight, particularly the authorization of the NH Lottery Commission as the main regulatory agency.
Other lawmakers said that they voted against the passing of the bill not because they oppose gambling, but because of the specific proposal. To authorize the operation of a lone casino in New Hampshire is tantamount to allowing a monopoly. A member of the House Committee, which conducted a research on the bill, explained that there is no state with only one casino.
As a note, Massachusetts Governor Maggie Hassan staunchly supports the bill, as she purports that the projected revenue of $80 million that the state would derive from licensing fees, is the only funding option available to support higher education and for improving the state’s mental and hospital services.