Approval now delayed

New Hampshire: Proposed Concord casino facing pushback after delivering lackluster public safety review

Andy Sanborn, former state senator and businessman behind the project.
Reading time 1:27 min

A proposed casino in Concord, New Hampshire, is seeing pushback from the city’s Planning Board after the applicant and his consultants failed to produce an adequate emergency services assessment per the request of the board. As a result, the application will be further delayed.

Andy Sanborn, former state senator and owner of Draft Sports Bar & Grill and the Concord Casino, a small-scale charitable gaming operation in downtown Concord, is behind the project. The development calls for a 43,000-square-foot casino, bar and hotel on the city’s east side, near Exit 3 of Interstate 393.

However, a lack of site-specific estimates and projections regarding potential demand for fire, police and emergency medical services for the proposed development in the report will further delay Sanborn’s application, reports Concord Monitor. Additionally, and contrary to what was requested by the board, the parties failed to review suggested comparable venues.

Instead, local media reports indicate that the applicant and his consultants presented historical data from local police departments, the history of the state law regarding charitable gaming and comparisons to smaller venues – and this was not what the board asked to receive.

Rendering for the proposed casino

City Councilor Byron Champlin indicated the emergency services report disregarded a request for an analysis of the entire completed project, set to include a casino, a restaurant with a microbrewery, a hotel, and a conference center. The report focused solely on Phase 1, which doesn’t feature the hotel and conference center, leaving Phase 2 off the table.

Attorney John Croning argued that he and Sanborn felt it was “a waste of time and money” to study something that is not guaranteed to be built. Champlin responded that the large number of public comments in regard to a potential impact on public safety called for accurate projections for both phases.

A public hearing is set to continue during the next board meeting on June 21, pending the submission of an independent third-party emergency services assessment. Sanborn argues the casino would help attract visitors while raising money for the community. As part of the charitable gaming operations, the state of New Hampshire requires 35% of gross revenue be donated to charities every 10 days.

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