New Hampshire Senate Passes an Online Casino Bill

Representative Tim Lang drafted SB 104, an online casino regulation. But, winning the Senate’s support hasn’t been a walk in the park for him this year as it failed 11-12 in last Thursday’s second reading.

Luckily, Senate President Jeb Bradley supported Lang’s proposed amendment. He called a recess, and the Senate session resumed after several minutes to discuss the bill. The lawmakers held its second vote, and it passed 12-11, this being the first successful online casino vote by a Senate in 2023 after Senator Kevin Avard changed his mind and backed it.

The Fate of Charitable Casinos

New Hampshire’s charitable casinos offer part of their revenue to the state to fund various charities. The senators feared that iGaming would cannibalize land-based casinos thus adversely affecting charities.

Senator Daryl Abbas said that his major concern was the charities’ future since they heavily rely on local gaming operators. His district has such organizations which help veterans, children, schools, animal shelters, and homeless individuals. Thus, the lawmaker doesn’t want the local gaming market to get diluted.

Lang backed his bill stating that New Hampshire’s sports gambling sector entails online gaming. So, online sports betting won’t affect charitable gaming’s revenue. Charitable gaming properties provide Lucky 7 electronic games and historical horse racing (HHR).

The representative added that a committee amendment banned such games for iGaming to favor charitable gaming sites. This prompted him to limit his bill to table games as brick-and-mortar casinos offer HHR.

Lang said that the amendment has another stipulation which needs iGaming operators to inform players of the nearest land-based charitable casino. His bill will divert iGaming revenue to fund community college scholarships.

Even so, gaming funding education bothered Senator Cindy Rosenwald. She said that SB 104 would destabilize the state’s nonprofit sector.

The lawmaker wouldn’t want someone’s entertainment to determine whether an individual goes to college. She reiterated that the state lottery and sports gambling revenue funds education.

Lang’s online casino bill issues the New Hampshire Lottery Commission the mandate to monitor online casino gaming and hold a thorough bidding process while choosing operators. It lists legal online games like baccarat, online poker, craps, roulette, and blackjack. Also, the legislation sets 18 years as the lowest gambling age.

The Senate Passes Another Charitable Gaming Max Wagers Bill

Lang explained his next bill to his colleagues after they returned from recess. He said that it will solve cannibalization issues and increase charitable gaming operators’ revenue.

SB 120 increases the gambling limit from $10 to $50, re-buy and buy-in limits on tournaments from $250 and $150 to $2,500. Also, Table stake limits will increase from $150 to $2,500. Hence, the two bills are linked and will legalize iGaming in New Hampshire as they increase charitable gaming contributions.

The Senate passed SB 120 and SB 104 by voice vote later in the day. The House will consider them soon but Lang doesn’t expect it to pass them as fast as the Senate did. Even so, the state’s legislative session will adjourn on June 30.

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