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March 16, 2014

Rockingham Park future in doubt with N.H. House casino vote

House defeats two bills, Senate remains


But something else happened that gave Elliott hope.

Despite rejecting the casino bill, the House rebuffed Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, a decades long casino gaming foe, turning down his procedural motion when he tried to put the issue to rest for the session.

“Neal Kurk got a slap in the face,” Elliott said.

He said he also is encouraged by the continued support of Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, who he said personally came to the Republican caucus to thank casino supporters.

“That definitely helped,” Elliott said.

He wants the Senate to give the House one more chance this year on casino gambling by sending over D’Allesandro’s bill, which allows licensing of two casinos.

The House bill would have licensed one casino.

Elliott said if the Senate bill is more attractive to House members, that could be a difference maker.

“That bill is not dead by a long shot,” Elliott said.

Add up all those factors — the absences, Hassan’s support, the possibility of more votes due to multiple venues in the Senate version, the House refusal to stop the discussion, the economics of it all and the threat from Massachusetts — and Elliott sees a chance.

“That’s why I’m so optimistic,” he said.

Cammarata hopes Elliott’s optimism is founded.

“The state needs this,” he said.

Voters still can make a difference in the issue, he said.

“People need to call, get hold of their reps and tell them to vote in favor of it,” Cammarata said.

What happens to The Rock if the Legislature doesn’t give casino gaming a chance, this year or next, isn’t promising.

“My candid answer is nobody knows what will happen except God and he hasn’t told me,” Elliott said.

Salem Delegation roll call

House lawmakers voted Thursday on whether to kill H.B. 1633, providing for a single casino in New Hampshire. A no vote would have kept the bill alive. A yes vote was to kill it.

Here’s the Salem delegation roll call:

Rep. Ronald Belanger, No

Rep. Patrick Bick, Yes

Rep. Robert Elliott, No

Rep. Marilinda Garcia, Not voting, not excused

Rep. Bianca Garcia, Not voting, excused for absence.

Rep. Anne Priestley, No

Rep. Joe Sweeney, No

Rep. John Sytek, No

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