"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Monday, April 27, 2015

We Already Have Gambling in NH

With the possibility of casino gambling coming to NH, I thought it would be interesting to look at how our other gambling enterprise has fared over the years. 
First lottery in the nation. According to the NH Lottery website "State Representative Larry Pickett of Keene saw a sweepstakes as a viable and voluntary method of raising money for education. Between 1953 and 1963, Pickett proposed a Sweepstakes bill five times, finally succeeding in getting it passed in 1963. On April 30 of that year, Governor John King signed the bill. New Hampshire cities and towns voted by special ballot, with 198 of the state’s 211 communities voting in favor of starting a lottery. On March 12, 1964, two days after the vote, Sweepstakes tickets went on sale – and the benefits to New Hampshire schools began."
 Since the NH lottery began sale in 1964, close to $1.7 billion have been earmarked for state education funding. A total of almost $5.5 billion in total adjusted gross revenues. A little more than $3.6 billion paid out in prizes. 
Here's the breakdown by percentage ( as of January 2013):
  • 62% Prize payouts
  • 26% To New Hampshire schools
  • 6% Retailer commissions
  • 3% Other cost of sales
  • 3% Administrative expenses 
The following is the revenue breakdown over the last 15 years ( note that the total at the end is the all time revenue since the lottery began in 1964) 

Does this support the case for casino gambling or hinder it? I'm torn on the subject. Sure we would see more revenue, but what will it be used for? More importantly, close to $300 million is being spent in NH yearly to purchase lottery tickets. If we reverse the equation, that's about $200 million more than is contributed by the lottery for education.
No one is forcing you to gamble. Why not allow NH to increase revenue if people obviously want to gamble their money?  The cons that I have heard include the potential for increased crime rates, the revenues are overstated and casino gambling is far more addictive than the lottery. The pros believe that the crime issue is overstated , that it will increase revenue, jobs and tourism and that without increased revenue, more severe budget cuts will be required.
Personally, I am leaning toward a few well placed casinos as I believe the potential benefits to the state outweigh the concerns. The only caveat for me is that if this does come to fruition, the revenue is earmarked to a rock solid current need and not just added to the general fund or used to create new programs.


Anonymous said...

Casinos in NH are a bad idea, they bring nothing but corruption and crime.

Bit Coin said...

New Hampshire had the first state lottery in the nation.
Now, New Hampshire is trailing the revenue stream.
Add two or three casinos in places that could use the jobs and related revenues.
It's not just the casinos.
Hotels, motels, gas stations, convenience stores, general stores, and other attractions all benefit.
The days of organized crime running the casinos is long gone. It is now big business.
Most states that do have casino gambling set aside funds for help/recovery for gambling addicts.
We have busloads of NH resident traveling to casinos out of state. Why not have the busses come TO New Hampshire. And grab all of that out of state money.

Anonymous said...

Having travelled across most of America over the past30 years, I have seen the 'before and after' impact of casinos. From Atlantic City, NJ, Hollywood, Florida, Mississippi River casinos, to Vegas and Tahoe/Reno, CA. I am not concerned by the presence of casinos, but I am concerned about ill-fated casinos. Only an addicted gambler would venture by bus to a NH casino in winter! The NH population/demographics, flat economy, limited career opportunities needed to retain our young grass in-state....all add up to NH casinos being a late entry, third rate, bad bet.

Kathy Grahm said...

Having traveled across most of this country multiple times and multiple routes I have seen dozens and dozens of casinos. From Nevada to Arizona through rural Wisconsin to New England.
A casino situated properly only adds to the prosperity of the locality. New Hampshire is not Atlantic City. Never was. Never will be. Nor is New Hampshire Las Vegas.
The NH legislature can approve the locations.
The White Mountain Valley for one. Along the seacoast as another. With zero negative impact on the beauty of New Hampshire. And have a much less impact and more beauty then another Walmart.
So let's get real here.

Josh Bartlett said...

Has anyone looked at the success (or not) of Maine's attempts?

Oxford County and Bangor both have casinos, and I wonder if they are doing what the legislators intended.

My first thought about this is that if you give a government more money, they will figure out a way to spend it. Sadly, some of the money often comes from people who can least afford another tax.
My other thought is that this is entertainment and why should it be restricted at all?

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

RE: Maine gambling: April 26 ...


There was "Prohibition" before it was repealed ... and the world has survived.

Some don't like guns ... guns don't kill ... people do.

Morality is ... or should stay out of ... gov't ... and whatever doesn't harm others.

Gambling is a choice people make. I've been to a couple of Casinos on land, and on the ocean, with a set amount of cash to spend and ... darn ... came back once or twice, with more money?

Not all Casinos make it. Trump's in-state ... ask him.

It is a choice not a mandate ... so why not?

I agree it is viewed as "recreation" ... MoBo might substitute the proposed Gym/Recreation Center for a casino license ... that might be less controversial! :)

Against Hipocosy said...

As the Live Free or Die state, I really don't understand why we are so concerned about problem gambling being a reason not to have a Casino when we tolerate excessive drinking, drug abuse, etc., without meaningfully addressing those issues.

More important is that we have various means of gambling both in NH and on line, plus what prevents our righteous citizens from traveling to Maine.

Rick Heath said...

For most of two years in the sixties, I went to school in New Haven CT and worked at a small and very popular restaurant called George and Harry's. The best job I ever had for learning. There were two pay phone in the lobby. One was for anyone to use, but the left one was for Abe (from the kitchen) to use. He made several calls from that phone everyday. He was, as I was told, calling his bookie. That was 1965 through 1967. As soon as he and several others found out that I lived in NH they would give me a wad of cash and a list of numbers and when I went home for a week-end I spent a good while at the local liquor store buying the folks back at G&H's their NH Lottery tickets. Back then it was quite a form one had to fill out (in triplicate) and the only place they were sold was at the Green Front Store (NH Liquor Store). How far we have come.
With all that said, I agree with Kathy G. above that there doesn't seem to be anything objectionable to what is common in many places around this nation, if it is done reasonably and responsibly AND it is pinpoint assigned for one purpose (education, job training for those on welfare, fuel assistance for poor, etc) and NOT just another revenue source to balance Maggie's budget I would support it.