House committee considers bill to legalize online gambling in New Hampshire

Written by: Greg Wright
Last update: Jul 26, 2023

Operators and charities that profit from the state's physical casinos are fighting against a bill that would legalize online gambling, arguing that the proposal would cannibalize their business and harm the charities to which they allocate the revenue.

According to a bill that was approved by the New Hampshire Senate by a single vote earlier this year, private companies would offer online casino games, including poker, roulette, and blackjack, to anyone physically located within the state who is over 17 years old, similar to the rules for sports betting.

There would be no limits on the sizes of bets for online games, according to the current bill. Charity gaming facilities currently have a limit of $10 per bet, although there are bills in the legislature that would increase that maximum bet.

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission predicts that online casino games could generate approximately $25 million in the first three years of operation. That money would be allocated to a newly created scholarship fund for community college students, covering tuition, fees, and books.

Under the current single model of the state, a portion of the gambling revenues from casino operators is donated to charitable organizations, generating approximately $20 million in the last fiscal year.

During a hearing on Tuesday at the New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee, beneficiaries of that agreement warned that they believe online gambling would eat into their revenues.

"I've always seen this as a balloon. You know, you squeeze one end, it's going to come out here and get smaller on the other end," said Jon Eriquezzo, CEO of Meals on Wheels of Hillsborough County.

Supporters of the bill argue that the appetite for gambling is large enough for a new online option to increase the number of people who would gamble, rather than diverting gambling habits away from physical facilities.

Senator Timothy Lang, a Republican from Sanbornton, told lawmakers that online poker and other gambling games are already available through illegal websites located outside the country. He said that legalizing games in New Hampshire would increase consumer protection.

"You can't just go to the Attorney General and say, 'Hey, I was playing poker illegally from a site in Costa Rica and I won the jackpot and they refuse to pay me,'" said Lang, who is the main sponsor of the bill.

He told lawmakers that the proposal would increase the state's workforce by offering scholarships to community college students who could fill necessary roles in the local economy.

"People who are educated in New Hampshire, and who do their internships in New Hampshire, are more likely to stay in New Hampshire," Lang said.

Many other states, such as Connecticut, offer online casino games. Just in New Hampshire, adults play lottery games similar to scratch cards.

Written by:
Greg Wright
Bruno Pérez is an expert in exploring the world of Philippine casinos, testing them according to his most important criteria: security and transparency. He has over 8 years of experience in writing articles and casino, cryptocurrency, and sports betting guides. When he has free time, he loves spending time with friends and watching Netflix with his family on weekends.
Last update: 26.07.2023