ynch, last month, voiced opposition to a Legislative push to permit slot machines and casino-style gambling in Hudson and five other sites. The House is now debating a Senate-approved bill that allows up to 17,000 legalized slot machines and table games in the state.
Federal law prohibits Internet gambling but it is rarely enforced. Americans account for half the us$ 16 billion spent globally on poker and other online games that are operated outside the U.S. Only four states have made Internet gambling illegal; New Hampshire has no law expressly prohibiting online betting.
Lynch has recently met with state Lottery commissioners, and Internet gambling is one of the considerations they have discussed, Manning said. “The governor is working on developing a comprehensive strategy to address the revenue shortfall,” Manning said. “There are a number of options the governor is looking at.”
Lynch will continue talking with lawmakers until reaching a decision, Manning said. He opposes the Senate bill because he said it fails to prevent the proliferation of gambling. But online betting would, in fact, allow for gambling’s proliferation, according to Senator Lou D’Allesandro, the prime author of the bill. “I haven’t seen his proposal,” D’Allesandro said. “But if the governor is afraid of proliferation, what easier way to proliferate it than online gambling.”
He added: “Anytime you get something online, you run the risk of who’s playing, what it involves, the extent of play. We’ve had so many problems with things online.”
The fact that Lynch has Internet gambling on the table displeases former state Senator Bob Clegg, who now works as a lobbyist for Green Meadow Golf Club, which aims to bring a casino and resort to Hudson. “The governor is worried about proliferation of gaming but it sounds like he’s going to make every computer terminal in every home and every BlackBerry – including those BlackBerrys held by kids in high school – a gambling facility,” Clegg said.
Manning didn’t provide any details of Lynch’s consideration of online gambling. It is unknown how a potential plan would work – in regard to if aside from allowing residents to legally gamble online, businesses in the state would be permitted to run Internet gambling sites. Presumably, any online gambling site doing business in the state would pay a tax.
Clegg argues that online gambling doesn’t create many jobs, and could be handled by someone out of state. Those behind gaming sites in New Hampshire contend the casinos will create jobs and boost flagging state and local revenue.
Such an operation in Hudson would bring the town as much as us$ 10 million in annual tax revenue, Jay Leonard, the Green Meadow project attorney, said. About 3,800 jobs would be created, some of which will be trickle-down positions at restaurants and other businesses, and about 1,900 construction workers would be needed to build the resort, he said.
Green Meadow Golf Club wants to build a casino, hotel, convention center and golf course on land bordering Lowell Road, the Sagamore Bridge and the Merrimack River. Aside from stifling business growth, online gambling would allow for unchecked addictions, Clegg said.