‘Old Rock’ casino could threaten charitable gaming

It has been described as charitable gaming but when the totals reach the neighborhood of $75 million annually, there are many in New Hampshire who believe the activity rises to the commercial gambling level.
Because of the size of the activity, charitable gambling soon became part of the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority report filed last week with Gov. Maggie Hassan, who formed the group to study future gambling in the Granite State.
In its report, the Authority suggested a number of regulatory changes regarding charitable gambling, as well as the proposal that a new regulatory structure be developed to authorize and regulate a commercial casino.
Ironically, the leading candidate for a commercial casino license would locate the facility at Rockingham Park where Millennium Gaming – owned by Las Vegas’ Bill Wortman and Bill Paulos – proposes a $600 million casino/entertainment project.
And, Rockingham Park currently provides the state’s largest charitable gambling operation, thus providing a major threat to charitable monies being generated.
The Wentworth-Coolidge Commission reported raising $37,744 during its charitable gambling days at Rockingham Park. That was only one group that benefited from its charitable days at The Rock.
There are other charitable gambling locations. One is Oceanfront Gaming at Hampton Beach. It was there the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Manchester raised $6,000 during its Oceanfront Gaming stint.
Most charitable gambling locations take on charities for 10 days of gambling. But, there are far more charities than there are gambling locations and opportunities. At Rockingham Park, there are 36 charities with game dates. They reportedly average about $55,000 raised during their allotted time.
One charity reportedly has waited five years to receive dates at Rockingham Park. This year, it hopes to pick up about $50,000 for its 10 days. This is far more than it has been able to raise in other locales, a spokesman said.
This past legislative session, a casino bill was approved by the Senate but rejected by the House, despite having the strong backing of Gov. Hassan.
She now hopes that with the recommendations of the Authority, at least one casino license will be approved. The next question would be where?


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