New Hampshire Rep. Laurie Sanborn still heads the House Ways and Means Committee that killed the 2023 online casino bill, even as her husband’s court case about the land-based casino they own nears a hearing date. Meanwhile, her fellow Republicans have said they won’t ask her to resign on Oct. 26.
On Friday, in Merrimack Superior Court, Anthony M. Sanborn vs. New Hampshire Lottery Commission comes before a judge for a hearing on “Andy” Sanborn’s bid to stop the lottery commission from taking his license to operate Concord Casino. Andy Sanborn filed the court case on Oct. 12, because the lottery commission notified him on Aug. 31 that it found he’d allegedly misused $844,000 in pandemic relief funds to, among other things, buy Rep. Sanborn a Ferrari.
While the legal proceedings against her husband regarding their charitable gaming operation were enough for Rep. Sanborn to step down as the chairwoman of the Commission to Study the Effect of Recent Changes Made to Charitable Gaming Laws, she didn’t do the same for any of her other roles.
That commission that’s scheduled to meet tomorrow is reviewing state laws regarding charitable gaming venues. Those are retail casinos in New Hampshire, like Concord Casino. They’re called charitable gaming facilities because some of their proceeds benefit charities. Rep. Sanborn resigned as chairwoman of that commission on Sept. 1.
Meanwhile, Rep. Sanborn didn’t return an emailed request from Bonus for comment, and the voicemail connected to the phone number she provides to her constituents is full and not accepting new messages.
House Republicans Won’t Request Sanborn Step Down
Bonus contacted Rep. Jason Osborne, R-Auburn. Osborne is the House Majority Leader and the point person for the Oct. 26 Republican Caucus.
Bonus asked Osborne today:
Will you be discussing Rep. Sanborn’s status or requesting that she step down?
Osborne responded to Bonus about an hour later:
However, state Sen. Timothy P. Lang Sr., R-Sanbornton, told Bonus on Sept. 20 that he thought some legislators might ask Sanborn to step aside at least temporarily while her husband’s legal matters played out.
Sanborn’s Committee Killed 2023 Online Casino Bill
Lang introduced the bill to legalize online casino gambling in New Hampshire.
On April 26, the House Ways and Means Committee voted 20-0 that the 2023 online casino bill was “inexpedient to legislate.” That meant that days later, legislators decided to “indefinitely postpone” SB104.
So the bill died.
Meanwhile, Rep. Sanborn — R-Bedford — was and is the chairwoman of that committee that sided with concerns raised by charitable gaming advocates. They said they feared online casino gambling would pull money away from land-based operations.
Rep. Sanborn and Andy Sanborn, a former state Senator, own the charitable gaming facility Concord Casino.
Lang said Sanborn was absent from the Sept. 19 meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Sanborn is also a member of the House Rules Committee.
Andy Sanborn Heads to Court on Friday
Andy Sanborn has a court hearing on Friday about his petition for an injunction. Superior Court Justice Amy L. Ignatius is presiding over the hearing that might continue the court’s temporary halt on the penalty proposed by the lottery commission — revoking his charitable gaming license.
That conclusion resulted from an investigation conducted by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission’s Investigation and Compliance Division, coordinated with the Civil Law Bureau of the New Hampshire Department of Justice, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, and the Attorney General.
Michael S. Garrity — director of communications and legislative affairs for the New Hampshire Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General — told Bonus today:
We disagree with the positions that the licensee takes in its filings. Our Office did appear at last week’s court hearing and objected to the licensee’s request to delay the licensing hearing. We will review the judge’s order and will continue to work to move this forward. The temporary injunction from the Merrimack Superior Court did not in any way dispute the findings or the merits of the investigation into the Concord Casino, but rather was specific to the timing for the hearing.