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February 7, 2014

Hassan pushes one casino for N.H.

Minimum wage, drugs, insurance all part of state of the state address

CONCORD — Gov. Maggie Hassan yesterday reiterated her support of a single casino for New Hampshire in her state of the state address to the Legislature.

The governor’s position puts her at odds with a Senate bill that would license two casinos.

Hassan said the state stands to lose $75 million annually once casinos open in Massachusetts, if it fails to respond.

“Developing New Hampshire’s own plan for one high-end destination casino will create jobs, boost our economy and generate revenue to invest in critical priorities,” Hassan said.

She appealed to House lawmakers who rejected a casino plan last year to reconsider their opposition now that a new bill takes in regulatory recommendations from a gaming oversight authority.

“For months, they worked hard to develop thoughtful recommendations for how to best oversee and move forward with one highly regulated destination casino in New Hampshire,” Hassan said. “I encourage all legislators to fully consider the authority’s carefully developed, bipartisan recommendations, recognize that we can do this in a way that works for our state, and vote in favor of authorizing a casino.”

A bipartisan coalition of more than 100 House lawmakers, the “Fair Deal Caucus,” this week announced their support for the legislation, House Bill 1633.

“This bill is different. It is a compromise,” said Rep. Katherine Rogers, D-Concord. “It is the House position on gambling: One license, a high-end casino, strictly regulated with all new oversight, but woven into the existing fabric of our law.”

The House held a hearing on the bill yesterday.

The Senate yesterday tabled its casino bill, Senate Bill 366, awaiting House action on the casino issue.

Lawmakers interrupted Hassan’s 53-minute speech more than 50 times with applause.

The first-term Democrat received standing ovations for supporting an increase in the minimum wage and equal pay for women.

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