The Boston Herald is reporting New Hampshire officials are ramping up efforts to craft new expanded gambling legislation that could be passed early in 2013 and result in the opening of a casino in the Granite State by the end of the year, with pieces in place for that location to be Rockingham Park in Salem.
State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro told the Herald he is working with Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan, who has expressed openness to an expanded gambling proposal, on the legislation. According to the Herald, such a move would endanger the effectiveness of any potential Massachusetts casino, which may not see its first license until early 2014.
For years, efforts to expand gambling with the intent of building a casino at Rockingham Park have failed. A proposal that included four casino licenses in New Hampshire failed last March.
Gov. John Lynch was a vocal opponent of any expanded gambling bill and promised a veto. Both of the candidates to be his successor, Hassan and Republican Ovide Lamontagne, said they would be open to expanded gambling proposals.
Millennium Gaming holds an option to purchase Rockingham Park and develop a casino there should expanded gambling pass. A recent public forum in Salem by local casino advocacy group NH Casino Now included officials from another Millennium casino was well-attended.
It's expected that a non-binding referedum on expanded gambling will take place at the March Salem town election.