If all goes well during the April 25 public hearing on the New Hampshire online casino bill, SB104, the Granite State will come one step closer to having legal online table games. Online slots aren’t in the measure that representatives will consider.
If the measure becomes law in 2023, it will likely be the only new legal marketplace among US online casinos in 2023.
However, it has a couple more hurdles to jump first.
What’s Happening Next Week
From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, members of the New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee will hold a public hearing on five gambling bills. SB104 is among them, having already received Senate approval on March 30.
Afterward, the committee will meet for an executive session from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Only four of the 14 bills on that agenda aren’t about gambling.
Next week’s scheduled activity on SB104 bodes well for the bill to pass during 2023. Because the measure isn’t due out of the committee until May 11 and the New Hampshire General Court doesn’t adjourn until May 19.
So there’s time for members of the House to vote on the bill before the end of their session, and for Gov. Chris Sununu to sign it into law in 2023. That may mean that lawmakers and regulators can meet the timeframe of launching on April 1, 2024.
That’s the date state Sen. Timothy P. Lang Sr., R-Sanbornton, specified in the bill he introduced on Jan. 5, 2023.
What Kind of Revenue Will There Be?
While the proposed launch date remains intact, Lang did compromise and remove online slots from the bill. That means that the New Hampshire Lottery Commission (NHLC), which will regulate the skins, estimates that 55% less tax revenue will be collected.
With the NHLC adjustments, expected tax revenue with a 35% tax rate on operators is:
- $2.4 million in Fiscal Year 2024
- $9.5 million in Fiscal Year 2025
- $14.2 million in Fiscal Year 2026
SB104 directs all of those tax dollars into a newly created Community College Scholarship Fund.
However, it’s also possible only DraftKings – the current sports betting operator in the effective monopoly state – may be interested in offering online casino games sans slots in the 1.4 million-resident state.
New Hampshire Online Casino Bill Has House Shepherd
Lang is SB104’s primary sponsor, but state Rep. Roderick “Rick” M. Ladd Jr., R-Haverhill, is its shepherd in the House.
While he’s not a member of the Ways and Means Committee, he may be invested in the bill due to his status as the chairman of the New Hampshire House Education Committee.
A new scholarship fund fits that committee’s scope:
It shall be the duty of the Committee on Education to consider subjects relating to the regulation of school districts and schools; the postsecondary college system; the University System of New Hampshire; matters concerning education; and such other matters as may be referred to it.
Ladd may encounter similar opposition to what Lang saw in the Senate: Retail casino backers who believe online casinos may cannibalize revenue.
Online gambling advocates say iGaming doesn’t pull revenue away from land-based casinos.
Yesterday at the East Coast Gaming Congress (ECGC) in Atlantic City, a representative of one of Connecticut’s two tribal casinos said legal online gambling was greatly increasing revenue.
Jason Guyot, President and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino, said the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation partnership with DraftKings Casino and DraftKings Sportsbook resulted in a 35% to 40% annual growth in monthly gross gaming revenue (GGR). Looking at Foxwoods’ customer database, the gamblers who play online are worth $80 million, he said.
Guyot told Bonus on April 24:
We’re seeing 35-40% increases in year-over-year comparisons each month.
Within the first 15 months, we’ve seen our [retail] guests with Foxwoods Rewards Cards spend upwards of 80 million dollars playing in our DraftKings Casino and Sportsbook.
Connecticut’s online gambling marketplace launched on Oct. 19, 2021. It’s the most recent state to legalize online casino and poker.
As for online gambling, overall:
It is an evolution and something that we must all deal with.
Because Guyot was speaking to an audience of retail casino leaders, he added that the future will involve more change “and constant excitement.”