Senators will vote on New Hampshire online casino legislation the next time they meet. That’s because a Senate committee approved SB104 on Feb. 8.
State Sen. Timothy P. Lang Sr., R-Sanbornton, told Bonus today that the Senate Ways and Means Committee‘s vote on Feb. 8 of “Ought to Pass with Amendment” has this result:
It will be voted on by the whole Senate the next time the Senate meets, which should be in two weeks.
If that chamber of the New Hampshire General Court approves the measure during its next meeting, which a session calendar says will be Feb. 23, the House will consider it next.
Meanwhile, on Valentine’s Day, both chambers will assemble for Gov. Christopher T. Sununu‘s budget address. He will be the final decision-maker on whether SB104 becomes law.
If he does so and New Hampshire online casino becomes law on Jan. 1, 2024, as outlined in the bill, the state could be the first to legalize iGaming since Oct. 19, 2021. That’s the date when Connecticut approved online casino, poker, and sports betting.
New Hampshire Online Casino Gets Committee Approval
During the Feb. 8 committee meeting, Ways and Means members approved SB104.
Lang, the committee chairman, told Bonus today:
The bill provides consumer protections from unscrupulous operators for our NH Citizens, and at the same time will help NH with its workforce issue by providing full scholarships to our 2-year community college system to quickly create access for healthcare, dental, and the trades industries to an educated and trained workforce, coming into the workforce without college debt.
Indeed, the amended bill details how a to-be-created Community College Scholarship Fund will benefit from the expected tax revenue. The 35% tax rate on what Lang expects to be $17 million a year in gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by three to five online casino sites will benefit the fund.
When the committee discussed the bill on Jan. 25, it outlined a possible online casino marketplace launch date of April 1, 2024.
Gamblers will need to be 18 years old, according to the New Hampshire online casino bill.
That matches the age requirement for the current online sports betting marketplace, which launched in 2019.
In other US online casino states, online gamblers are 21 or older.
Meanwhile, the bill’s primary opponent believes his horse racing betting company, Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), may experience revenue cannibalization.
Former New Hampshire Sen. Peter Bragdon testified to the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Jan. 25.
He urged the committee to have a better understanding of how iGaming impacts the revenue of brick-and-mortar gaming establishments.
Bragdon’s cannibalization concern appears to be the primary obstacle to online casino legalization in all states where bills are pending.