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August 1, 2013

Londonderry sergeant named to casino panel

Nine-member commission meets this month

Londonderry police Sgt. Patrick Cheetham is one of three people Gov. Maggie Hassan appointed yesterday to the state Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority.

The 11-year Londonderry Police Department veteran is tasked with recommending how the state should oversee and regulate a proposed casino if the Legislature approves expanded gambling next session. Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, said he will introduce gaming legislation next month.

Cheetham joins newly appointed members Rep. Richard Ames, D-Jaffrey, and Manchester attorney Kathleen Sullivan on the nine-member panel. The commission also includes Attorney General Joseph Foster and Sen. James Rausch, R-Derry, a strong proponent of casino gambling.

Hassan chose Cheetham because of his law enforcement experience, according to the her spokesman, Marc Goldberg.

“Gov. Hassan feels that Sgt. Cheetham will bring an important law enforcement perspective that will help the commission make recommendations for regulatory and oversight measures that will best address concerns about potential social costs,” Goldberg said.

He said Hassan knew Cheetham through his work as a legislative liaison for the New Hampshire Police Association.

Cheetham, a member of the association’s board, testified before lawmakers last session in support of Senate Bill 152 — legislation that would have allowed expanded gaming in the state, Goldbeg said.

SB 152 was passed by the Senate, but killed by the House in May. The bill, backed by Hassan, called for the establishment of a single, well-regulated casino in the state.

One of the locations considered was Rockingham Park in Salem, where Millennium Gaming of Las Vegas proposed a $600 million-plus casino complex if expanded gambling were passed. Millennium estimated it would create 3,000 construction and gaming jobs.

Cheetham, who works an overnight shift for the Londonderry Police Department, could not be reached for comment. But Londonderry police Chief William Hart said Cheetham, who is in his 30s, is a valuable member of his force.

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