House to vote on gambling expansion, Part One


The New Hampshire House is expected to vote to move expanding gambling forward Wednesday, but it's not the high-profile vote that's yet to come.While the full House debate has yet to be held on a high-end casino proposed in Gov. Maggie Hassan's budget, on Wednesday, it will take up two bills endorsed by the House Ways and Means Committee. One would lift the betting limit on cash charity games and the other would study implementing keno in the state's bars and restaurants.House Bill 314 - which the committee endorsed on a 15-2 vote -- would increase the amount that can be bet on a cash gambling game from $4 to $6 in non-tournament "games of chance" -- everything from cash poker to craps and roulette at 10 existing charitable gaming casinos in the state.While another bill would allow high-stakes betting in all games, including non-tournament games, at this point, that like a long shot.Still, a higher betting limit is an improvement in the eyes of the industry. "We were lucky to get that," said Rick Newman, general manager of Lakes Region Casino in Belmont, one of the 10 facilities. In addition, if HB 314 is approved, casinos will have to pay the state its cut of 10 percent every month, as opposed to every day.Another measure up for a vote Wednesday, HB 520, would establish a study committee to implement keno. But the electronic game - a sort of cross between a slot machine and a lottery ticket dispenser, sold mainly at bars rather than convenience stores - has the strong support of Charles McIntyre, executive director of the Lottery Commission, who oversaw the game in Massachusetts, where it is played in bars and stores.The Ways and Means Committee backed the study, 17-1. - BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEWPhoto courtesy
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