New Hampshire House passes bill barring casinos from collecting rent from charities

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: January 21, 2024 12:09 pm EST

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that would end the state’s charitable-license casinos from collecting rent from their partner charities for hosting events. Senate Bill 112 passed on a voice vote in the House after being resurrected in October, a quick turnaround for a bill that was declared dead last September.

The bill, which now appears likely to become law, would end the states’ 13 currently-operating charity casinos ability to ask charities to assume financial risk should a venue’s specific event fail to cover expenses, which can happen for several reasons, particularly for inclement weather.

The common-sense measure is part of a give-and-take situation for New Hampshire’s charity-games industry. Last July, the state approved an increase of the maximum games-of-chance wager from $2 to $50, which allows the casinos to pull in significantly more revenue while still making payments to the state as well.

A majority of the charity casinos in the state offer live poker, though that represents just one portion of the revenue generated in the “Games of Chance” (GOC) category as defined by the state. Many of the charity casinos also offer remote wagering on historic horse racing (HHR), which generally provides a larger revenue slice, as seen in this graph from the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.

The graphs below offer a detailed breakdown of 2023 revenue from January through November, and also shows the percentages from the tiny Concord Casino that was ordered shuttered by the state for finanical misrepresentations. The second graph illustrates how small the Concord room was in comparison to the state’s larger charity-gaming venues.

New Hampshire’s charity casinos support bill

On the surface it might be surprising that the state’s charity casinos, as represented by the NH Charitable Gaming Operators Association, support the bill. The July wagering-limit increase more than makes up for the added financial risk while relieving the partner charities from the worry.

One of the state’s charitable rooms, Aces and Eights in Hampton, has voluntarily stopped charging the charities rent, partly in anticipation of SB 112 becoming law. A lobbyist from the charitable-gaming operators group has indicated other charity rooms in the state may soon follow suit.

Featured image source: Omni Mount Washington Resort