New Hampshire Online Casino Hopes Likely Dead for 2024

Hopes of legalizing New Hampshire online casino gambling in 2024 are likely dead. On Dec. 26, the primary sponsor of LSR2957 said so to Bonus.

That’s because the topic of iGaming legalization is off-limits until at least 2025.

LSR2957’s primary sponsor, state Sen. Timothy P. Lang Sr., R-Sanbornton, explained it to Bonus.

The Office of Legislative Services removed the online casino portion of his Nov. 30 legislative service request because a review showed the New Hampshire House of Representatives would kill any such bill. The entire subject was verboten because, on May 4, 2023, the House voted to “indefinitely postpone” deciding the fate of SB104.

SB104 was the 2023 online casino bill.

According to the New Hampshire Almanac:

Motions to reconsider the latter motion [to indefinitely postpone] may be made but are limited by rules and are only rarely successful. Any bill killed in the first-year session is not permitted to be admitted into the second-year session, without the approval of a majority of the Rules Committee or a two-thirds vote of the House.

So now, New Hampshire joins Indiana in deciding not to consider online casino legalization in 2024.

However, hold off on writing the epitaph for online casino gambling in the Granite State. Because Lang may reintroduce the topic in 2025.

DraftKings May Be Alone in Caring

The on-again-off-again nature of New Hampshire online casino legalization measures may eventually only matter to DraftKings (DraftKings 43,53 +0,48%). Because DraftKings Sportsbook is the only online gambling operator offering sports betting in the state with 1.4 million residents.

Meanwhile, anyone perusing the status of LSR2957 will notice the Office of Legislative Services did draft a bill for Lang from his original request.

Now titled SB432, the “advanced deposit account wagering” bill will only address horse racing betting.

DraftKings may be interested in the legislation, though. Because, on March 29, 2023, DraftKings announced its new horse racing betting app — DK Horse. The DK Horse map now shows 19 states using the app, but New Hampshire isn’t one of them.

Lang told Bonus on Dec. 26:

I am moving another online part forward in the meantime and that is ‘Advanced Deposit Wagering,’ which is horse racing betting. We allow for in-person OTB. This would clarify that online betting on horseracing would be allowed. The ‘tax’ would be the same as retail OTB at 1.25%.

SB432 is scheduled to be introduced on Jan. 3 in the New Hampshire Senate. Then, at 1:45 p.m. on Jan. 3, the Senate Ways and Means Committee is slated to hold a hearing on the bill in Room 100. Lang is the chairman of that committee.

If SB432 becomes law, the bill shows New Hampshire may see $17 million a year in handle and $212,500 in revenue. The New Hampshire Lottery would regulate the form of gambling available to those 18 and older.

If approved, the bill says online horse racing betting may be available in New Hampshire on Jan. 1, 2025.

House Leadership Situation

New Hampshire online casino legislation dying before it could even get started in 2024 originates in that House vote on May 4, 2023.

However, the body considered the April 26, 2023, recommendation from the House Ways and Means Committee. That body voted unanimously that SB104 was “inexpedient to legislate.”

Meanwhile, that committee’s chairwoman was and is state Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford.

She’s also a member of the majority-Republican House Rules Committee. The Office of Legislative Services may have weighed that committee’s chances of overturning the May 4 House vote:

Any bill killed in the first-year session is not permitted to be admitted into the second-year session, without the approval of a majority of the Rules Committee or a two-thirds vote of the House.

However, Sanborn’s leadership in legal gambling votes only gets more complicated.

On Sept. 1, Sanborn resigned from her leadership position on the Commission to Study the Effect of Recent Changes Made to Charitable Gaming Laws.

The day before her commission resignation, Sanborn was named in a letter sent by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission (NHLC) to her husband, Anthony M. Sanborn. The letter informed “Andy” Sanborn that the regulator was revoking his charitable gaming license for Concord Casino.

The commission alleged he’d “unlawfully obtained” $844,000 in pandemic funds. One of his purchases was a Ferrari for Laurie Sanborn.

Andy Sanborn allegedly claimed the race cars he purchased with the pandemic funds allowed him to advertise his business, reported Annmarie Timmins on Dec. 22.

The New Hampshire Bulletin article by Timmins continued:

Casinos were not eligible for pandemic loans. Nor were elected officials, which Lauire Sanborn was when the Sanborns submitted the application in 2021. Financial consultants hired by the Sanborns to help obtain the loan raised concerns about those issues, according to documents obtained by the Bulletin through a right-to-know request.

Michael Evans, of SpringWest Capital Corp. in New York, hired by the Sanborns to submit the loan, told Laurie Sanborn in a December 2021 email not to use any email addresses that would reveal her political office. ‘No active political office therefore it is better to use an email that does not imply an office. Senator, mayor, etc.,’ it said.

Andy Sanborn is still appealing the revocation of his gaming license. So far, no elected officials are asking Laurie Sanborn to resign from office or step down from her position on the Rules Committee.

UPDATE: 12/29/23

Andy Sanborn lost his gaming license.

According to a Dec. 28 article Timmins wrote:

The state has suspended former state Sen. Andy Sanborn’s charitable gaming license for six months and ordered him to sell his Concord Casino to a new owner approved by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. If Sanborn fails to do so, the casino’s license will be revoked for two years, which would make it much harder for him to sell his business.

In the meantime, Sanborn must cease gaming at Concord Casino by Monday, when his existing license expires.

The Sanborns allegedly misrepresented themselves and their business in order to get the $844,000 pandemic assistance loan, ruled Michael P. King, a “specially assigned hearings examiner” for the New Hampshire Department of Safety (NHDS).

As a result, the gaming license suspension begins on Jan. 1.

Andy Sanborn can appeal the decision but Timmins reported that he didn’t respond to her request for comment about whether he will do so within the required 15 days.

The image depicts the Concord Casino.
Credit: Annmarie Timmins/New Hampshire Bulletin

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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