EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 10, 2013

Lots of uncertainty about casino bill's future

(Continued)

But she wants to hear in the committee how a casino would affect the state’s economy.

“Is it helping the economy of New Hampshire?” she asked. “Will the jobs be geared to New Hampshire residents?”

Ulery, who has supported gaming in the past, said he hasn’t made up his mind.

“I’m sitting on the fence on this one,” he said.

While he said a destination gaming resort could be a good thing, he is concerned about approving a monopoly, as the bill now provides.

“I want to hear this is not a monopoly,” Ulery said, “that this is not government picking winners and losers.”

Ulery wants to hear real facts about revenues and crime.

“I want to see it in black and white,” he said. “I also want to see how the state is going to regulate this and what the costs are for that regulation.”

Elliott said he is absolutely supporting the bill and wants opponents to prove their case that a casino will add to crime and social problems.

A 50-year Salem resident familiar with Rockingham Park’s history, he is skeptical of the claims.

“Ridiculous charges,” Elliott characterizes them. “There has never been any scandal at that track.”

Elliott sees new lawmakers playing a decisive role.

“That’s part of the mystery of the equation,” he said.

Veterans should know by now how they stand, Elliott maintains.

“After all these years, you ought to know down deep in your toes how you stand on the gambling issue,” he said.

But he said the bill hasn’t been whipped yet — a political term for trying to count the votes beforehand — and Statehouse veterans admit to uncertainty over the outcome.

“It’s one of the things that makes this bill so difficult to figure out,” Elliott said. “You never know what will happen that final day.”

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