New Hampshire Charities Worry Over Casino Legislation
While New Hampshire is debating legalizing a commercial casino, charities in the area that rely on poker nights to raise millions of dollars every year are worried that a casino would result in them loosing crucial revenue.Gene Doherty, Wentworth-Coolidge Commission Co-chairwoman, said that other methods of fundraising are insignificant compared to the $37,744 the commission raised last year at Rockingham Park. According to Doherty gambling revenues account for 80% of the commission’s budget.
New Hampshire has allowed the operation of these mini-casinos since 1977; they are run with few limits other than the size of the bet and the maximum number of days that a charity can sponsor an event.
Now a commission is drafting legislation to regulate casinos and casino bills are likely to be submitted in both houses of the legislature with a vote taking place next year. State officials estimate that $75 million is bet annually at events run by 389 charities.
While the state is obviously keen to get a share of this money via regulation and taxation, there is a genuine concern that a number of charities will no longer be able to offer services to the community if they lose their gambling fundraisers.