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July 30, 2013

N.H. to see new casino legislation

New expanded gaming legislation will be proposed

If Sen. Lou D’Allesandro has his way, lawmakers will again consider whether expanded gambling is coming to New Hampshire.

D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, said yesterday he will file legislation in September calling for the Legislature to approve casino gambling to generate millions of dollars in revenue for the cash-strapped state.

“We need the money,” D’Allesandro said.

His decision comes on the heels of a House of Representatives vote in May to kill Senate Bill 152, a proposal that would have permitted the establishment of a single casino in the state. One proposed location for the facility was Rockingham Park in Salem.

Ever since the House’s 199-164 vote May 22, D’Allesandro said he’s been contacting Democrats to discuss the issue with them so he can draft a bill that addresses their concerns. Ninety-five Democrats voted against the bill, he said.

“I will sit down with them and answer all their questions,” he said.

D’Allesandro said New Hampshire residents need to tell their lawmakers that expanded gambling is desperately needed to boost state coffers and fund millions of dollars in repairs to the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges.

“(Residents) know the roads are falling apart, they know the bridges are falling apart and they know we don’t have the money to fix them,” he said. “The public has expressed their concerns and the Democrats have to listen.”

D’Allesandro said although it’s too early to reveal details of his legislation, expanded gambling is needed to help finish expansion of Interstate 93.

Sen. James Rausch, R-Derry, agrees.

Rausch, a strong supporter of casino gambling, said he would back D’Allesandro’s legislation.

“I haven’t seen it yet, but I would support it,” he said.

Rausch said he intends to file his own legislation to bolster New Hampshire’s economy and complete much-needed bridge projects.

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