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Could Casino Be a Reality By End of 2013?

The Boston Herald reported N.H. efforts to beat Massachusetts to the gambling punch are ramping up.

The Boston Herald is reporting New Hampshire officials are ramping up efforts to craft new expanded gambling legislation that could be passed early in 2013 and result in the opening of a casino in the Granite State by the end of the year, with pieces in place for that location to be Rockingham Park in Salem.

State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro told the Herald he is working with Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan, who has expressed openness to an expanded gambling proposal, on the legislation. According to the Herald, such a move would endanger the effectiveness of any potential Massachusetts casino, which may not see its first license until early 2014.

For years, efforts to expand gambling with the intent of building a casino at Rockingham Park have failed. A proposal that included four casino licenses in New Hampshire failed last March.

Gov. John Lynch was a vocal opponent of any expanded gambling bill and promised a veto. Both of the candidates to be his successor, Hassan and Republican Ovide Lamontagne, said they would be open to expanded gambling proposals.

Millennium Gaming holds an option to purchase Rockingham Park and develop a casino there should expanded gambling pass. A recent public forum in Salem by local casino advocacy group NH Casino Now included officials from another Millennium casino was well-attended.

It's expected that a non-binding referedum on expanded gambling will take place at the March Salem town election.

Riley Reid November 28, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Senator D’Allesandro is from Manchester but he realizes how important this issue is to the entire state not just Salem. Unfortunately he won't get any support from our Salem Reps as they are all opposed to a casino. Having just been to Rockingham Park for a charity event I believe the place is already a casino. The only thing missing is slot machines.
Jake O'Donnell November 28, 2012 at 09:08 PM
@Riley, your comment "Unfortunately he won't get any support from our Salem Reps as they are all opposed to a casino" is patently incorrect. Let's try to stick to facts when we make these kinds of arguments. For the incoming group of Salem legislators, the following have expressed support for casino gambling in Salem: Azarian, Belanger, Elliott, Priestley, Sweeney. Those opposed: Bick, M. Garcia, Sytek. B. Garcia said on this site she would like the question to go before the voters as a ballot initiative.
Riley Reid November 28, 2012 at 09:37 PM
In the past Jake, Reps Azarian, Belanger, and Elliott did not vote in favor of a casino at Rockingham Park. M Garcia left before the vote was taken for an appointment in Boston.
Riley Reid November 28, 2012 at 09:44 PM
One more point, I don't believe any of these Republican State Reps would go against the party and cross the aisle to work with Democratic Senator. At least they haven't in the past.
Jim Rubens November 29, 2012 at 03:02 PM
No way a Salem casino beats a Boston casino. First, Gov-elect Hassan has promised one "highly regulated" casino. This means a min of 2-4 years before a final license to build is granted. (Dont spend promised casino license money in the 2014-14 state budget, because it wont be there). And, second, the bigger, better, flashier, better located casino in Boston will crush any Salem casino, regardless of which gets built first. Salem will be relegated to a local-market, convenience casino, sucking money out of the Salem area economy and killing jobs at existing local businesses.
Soujourner Truth November 29, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Great to point out fact, Jake, but while you're at it, you may also want to remind readers that NH is not a ballot initiative state, so B. Garcia's idea is not even a possibility without first amending our state constitution to allow state law to be set by ballot initiative, which itself would have to go before voters and receive 2/3 the vote. A NON-BINDING referendum held in Salem is not the same thing and has zero force of law.
Soujourner Truth November 29, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Gambling is a nonpartisan issue. Salem voters all hopped up about slots must remember is how ineffective those in office have been in making it happen. Jake is correct, most are publicly and loudly for expansion, but it's not as simple as bleating allegiance to the track. Those who've served and claim to support it have no idea how to work with others in order to get it done - voting isn't enough. And we have no evidence that they have learned anything about how to play nice with others these last 2 years. So I'm confident slots aren't happening, regardless of how much time and effort is put into a local referendum vote that will in the end be moot. Salem simply has no clout in Concord no matter who is in power - even when we had a pro-gambling majority leader "representing" Salem! Voters have to start wondering why that is and take a harder look at just who we're sending up there.
Riley Reid November 29, 2012 at 05:07 PM
ST: very true. I was told Sen Morse is working hard to make the casino a reality.
Riley Reid November 30, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Remember, it's not just gambling, a casino would bring in shows and other entertainment and I for one would rather stay here in Salem than go to Boston
Jake O'Donnell November 30, 2012 at 07:58 PM
@Soujourner, thanks for pointing that out. Again, just stating what had been reported previously.
Bob Demers January 26, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Salem and the state of NH need the casino to pass. Rte 28 looks like Hiroshima after we dropped the atom bomb! This is one of the most accessable roads from all the major highways. It makes no sense to build a Casino at any other location. As a Salem resident I'm all for it!!

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