EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

February 9, 2013

NH senators say casino would solve budget woes

(Continued)

Wortman said a casino could create 2,000 construction jobs and 1,300 permanent jobs at the track.

Morse said New Hampshire needs to adopt expanded gambling as soon as possible to ward off competition from casinos in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

“They will affect the economy in the state if we don’t act,” Morse said. “It needs to happen.”

Revenue from the $80 million licensing fee to operate a casino could be used to plug holes in the 2014-2015 state budget if lawmakers pass expanded gambling Morse said. There would be $100,000 million in annual revenue once the casino opens, he said.

Morse said 45 percent of the revenue from gaming should be used to support the state’s university system, while another 45 percent should go toward funding roads, bridges and Interstate 93. The remaining 10 percent would be targeted for redevelopment of New Hampshire’s North Country, he said.

If a casino locates at Rockingham Park, Salem would receive 3 percent of the annual revenue, Morse said. Surrounding communities, including Windham and Derry, would get 1 percent.

Raush, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, provided an update on the I-93 construction. He said gambling revenue would help fund completion of the project, projected for 2020.

“2020 is critical because if we don’t (finish), we will lose some of the permits from the federal government,” he said.

The revenue would also help replace the state’s many “red-listed” bridges. Those are bridges the state Department of Transportation has determined desperately need work to remain open.

“The money we receive from gaming will easily support the bonds,” he said. “I am strongly supporting gambling. I am very, very hopeful that we will be able to get it through the legislative body. We will get it through the Senate.”

The event was also sponsored by the Salem Rotary Club.

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