Gambling Bill Sponsors Unveil Amendment
It deals with proposed $80 million gaming license, regulations, and proceeds: DOT would get % of slot machine income to pay debt service on bonds to widen I-93.
Sponsors of the expanded gambling bill in New Hampshire unveiled a major amendment Friday that reflects, in part, the $80 million proposed gambling licensing revenue identified in Gov. Maggie Hassan's budget.
The amendment further spells out regulatory oversight, enforcement and support for the local community in which the casino facility would be located.
The bill has a public hearing Tuesday, 9 a.m., in Room 100 of the Statehouse. Here is the amendment to Senate Bill 152.
The sponsors are: Sens. Lou D'Allesandro (D-Manchester), Chuck Morse (R-Salem) and Jim Rausch (R-Derry).
Supporters of expanded gambling, whether at Rockingham Park or another southern New Hampshire site, cheered when Gov. Maggie Hassan included $80 million in gambling licensing funds for a high-end casino in her budget address Feb. 14. The Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling skewered the proposal.
Read Hassan's budget address and see budget here.
The 41-page amendment notes that the Lottery Commission would charge an initial license fee of $80 million, upon approval, and said license would expire after 10 years. The renewal fee would be $1.5 million.
Other pieces of the amendment include:
- The Lottery Commission would impose a non-refundable application fee of $500,000 on all applicants.
- The applicant must obtain local approval of the municipality in which the project is proposed by local referendum.
- The applicant shall agree to make a minimum capital investment in the project that shall not be less than $425 million.
- The gaming licensee shall operate no more than 150 table games and no more than 5,000 video lottery machines at its location.
- Language for background checks and review by the Attorney General's office, language and reference support for problem gamblers, and the establishment of a gaming enforcement unit in the Division of State Police.
The amendment further spells out that proceeds of video lottery machines and table games would be distributed to municipalities where the facility is located, as well as abutting communities, as well as to the state's Education Trust Fund.
Proceeds, too, would be distributed for highway and bridge projects (including a percentage to pay debt service on bonds for widening of Interstate 93 from Salem to Manchester), higher education and North Country economic development.