Some of these points are provided by the Granite States Coalitions Against Expanded Gambling. For more information, see www.noslots.com. The governor’s statement on casino gambling can be found here. The report of the NH Gaming Study Commission, referenced below, is here.
1. HB 593 allows only two casinos, with no competitive bidding for licenses.
The gaming industry drafted a bill that gives unconstitutional no bid monopolies to politically-connected individuals.
2. Market saturation
With Massachusetts having just approved casinos, the area market will be saturated, reducing the value of any New Hampshire casino development. This would limit New Hampshire to convenience casinos, smaller and with fewer amenities than “destination” casinos. New Hampshire’s supposed “take” in tax income would be severely reduced. With Massachusetts
3. Big box effect
Casinos and slots parlors will pull business away from NH’s smaller lodging/restaurant establishments.
4. Charitable gaming stands to lose money with casinos in the area.
In fiscal year 2010, charitable gaming distributed $11 million to 300+ NH charities. HB 593 has a “hold harmless” provision for charitable gaming, allocating some of the tax money NH would collect from the casinos to be designated for these charities. However, any law about that could be changed or repealed in a subsequent legislative session. Whenever the state has a budget problem or if a casino owner complained of hard times, the charity set-aside would be on the chopping block. How would you like to see those 300 charities have to depend on Concord lobbying to protect their income?
5. The state Attorney General has warned that HB 593 does not allow sufficient oversight of casinos.
6. Casinos brings increased crime.
“Just as new gaming facilities will draw people, they will also increase social costs due to problem gaming and other addictive behaviors.” New Hampshire Gaming Study
7. Casinos create problem gamblers.
The Gaming Study Commission also found that between 7,000 and 14,000 NH residents would become problem gamblers if a casino opens at Rockingham Park – with associated costs for family breakdown, mental health treatment, and crime. Each problem or pathological gambler impacts the lives of approximately ten additional family members, workplace associates, friends, and crime victims.
And now, some details:
1. Our libertarian friends need to know that HB 593 creates a monopoly, or more precisely a duopoly: only two casino/slots licenses are allowed. The fee for those licenses is set in the bill at $50 million each, with no competitive bidding. Even if one supports expanded gambling in principle, remember that successful bidders may then turn around and resell their license, if they choose, for a higher price – and all that money goes to the original licensee, not the state. Another note for gambling supporters: originally, there was talk of putting a casino in the North Country, where the economy is weak compared to southern NH. At one point, HB 593 had a requirement that the two proposed casinos be 100 miles apart. That provision was dropped via amendment. Now, the two entities who have expressed interest in developing NH casinos are looking only at Salem (Rockingham Park) and Hudson (the so-called Green Meadow project).
2. Massachusetts just passed a casino bill, which will saturate the market. It’s unlikely that if a “destination” casino like Foxwoods is built that a “destination” casino will come to NH; the economics make no sense. This would leave NH with “convenience casinos” – smaller, with fewer amenities. NH’s bill requires no minimum investment by casino developers. The gamblers would have no problem driving an extra half-hour for the Massachusetts casinos.
3. If casinos of any size are built in NH, they will divert restaurant & lodging dollars from other NH businesses in the area. This would be a disaster for owners of small restaurants/lounges/lodging establishments.Note that the bill grants casinos the right to serve alcohol without being required to serve food. No other entity in the state has that right.
4. Charitable gaming, like bingo, would be harmed. In fiscal year 2010, charitable gaming distributed $11 million to 300+ NH charities. HB 593 has a “hold harmless” provision for charitable gaming, allocating some of the tax money NH would collect from the casinos to be designated for these charities. However, any law about that could be changed or repealed in a subsequent legislative session. Whenever the state has a budget problem or if a casino owner complained of hard times, the charity set-aside would be on the chopping block. How would you like to see those 300 charities have to depend on Concord lobbying to protect their income?
5. The NH Attorney General has stated that HB 593 does not provide the necessary regulatory structure to oversee casino operations.
6. The New Hampshire Gaming Study Commission, which was established by the Governor and then made a report to him, projected that a casino in Salem would lead to 1,200 additional serious crimes per year in the Salem area.This projection is based on peer-reviewed studies of the effect of casinos on their communities. This is another reason for the Attorney General’s opposition, in which they’re joined by the NH Association of Chiefs of Police.