EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

September 10, 2013

N.H. officials return to casino discussion


But the House later rejected the casino plan. One reason lawmakers cited was concern the state didn’t have a regulatory mechanism in place.

Some lawmakers complained the plan favored Rockingham Park as the location, while others wanted more than one venue.

Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, intends to sponsor a casino bill for the upcoming session.

“We will be trying to address the oversight concern that everybody had,” D’Allesandro said.

His bill also would let the state, in time, license a second casino, D’Allesandro said.

That would respond to concerns among lawmakers that the state would create a monopoly situation with just one casino, he said.

Hassan supported the casino plan last session because it called for just one casino.

D’Allesandro said he hasn’t spoken with the governor about this revision, but is willing to do so and explain why a second venue is important for legislative support.

He also expects to check in soon with his casino co-sponsors, Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, who has supported having a casino to generate funding for highway projects, and Sen. Chuck Morse, R-Salem.

Morse recently was elected president of the Senate.

“That helps,” D’Allesandro said.

Casino gaming opponents intend to renew their opposition, but not at this week’s hearing.

“We’ll be there watching and listening,” said Henry Veilleux, a lobbyist for Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling.

Taking a position on casino regulation is premature, he said, because the Legislature had rejected it.

“The coalition continues to oppose the introduction of casino-style gambling in New Hampshire,” Veilleux said.

The coalition will continue to lobby the House to oppose casino gaming, he said.

The House rejected casino gambling for many more reasons than just regulatory worries, he said.

“It’s the same Legislature,” Veilleux said.

The authority’s hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday in Rooms 210-211 of the Legislative Office Building, across the street from the Statehouse.

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