Selectmen Recommend Casino Referendum
The non-binding question will be on the ballot this March.
Selectmen have unanimously recommended a non-binding referendum question for expanded gambling, moving the item to the ballot in March.
The referendum question will ask residents if they would be in favor of video lottery machines and table games at Rockingham Park in Salem.
Ed Callahan of Rockingham Park brought the item before the Salem Board of Selectmen on Monday. He said the park would pay for any costs associated with the referendum question.
"We appreciate that the town had this referendum in 1994 and 2003, but now that we're 10 years out, the possibility of finding out where residents are on the issue is probably a good idea," Callahan told the board Monday night.
Callahan proposed language for the referendum question that he said closely mirrors an expanded gambling bill expected to go before the state Legislature in January or February.
Selectmen Chairman Pat Hargreaves proposed that the board put forward with a recommendation from the board.
"I believe all five of us on the board are in favor of this," he said. "And I believe if we have a private entity doing this, then the public would probably see it as a private business trying to make money."
Selectman Stephen Campbell said he agreed with the measure.
"I've made no bones about it that (extended gambling) goes along with my conservative values that if we're going to have gambling in the state, I have no problem if the people want it at Rockingham Park," he said. "I'm not opposed to us doing it, particularly if the racetrack is going to pick up the additional costs."
Larry Belair, of the citizen group NH Casino Now, said his organization would also give any support necessary to move the question forward.
Selectmen voted unanimously to recommend the question. Selectman Michael Lyons participated in the meeting by telephone.