Business owners and constructions workers supported the gaming bill in New Hampshire as the bill would generate many great benefits for the state. The house was set to vote on the bill this week.
At a press conference organized by the backers of the gaming bill, House Bill 593 Monday, Joe Casey, president of NH Building and Construction Trades Council, said that they see the said bill as the most important bill in New Hampshire.
The bill, once approved, would see the rise of four casinos in the state. Revenues of these casinos were said to reduce business taxes.
Casey, who was joined at the event by the president of the NH Auto Dealers Association and a restaurant owner, as well as the bill's prime sponsors, Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, and Rep. Stephen Stepanek, R-Milford, also said, “these facilities could provide thousands of good jobs,”
After Massachusetts passed their own gaming bill, Campbell said, “If we do nothing and let Massachusetts put up its casinos, we'll be losing $180 million per biennium at minimum,” referring to lost meal and room tax and other revenues. He reiterated this argument to push for expanded gambling legislation.
The bill would allow large casinos to put up 14,000 slot machines and 420 table games, and two small casinos. The smaller ones would be placed in an economically disadvantaged area of the state, most likely the North Country or Cheshire County.
The general fund of the state will be earning a lot just by the licenses alone; Licenses for the bigger casinos would cost $50 million each; those for the smaller casinos would cost $20 million each. Backers say the projected $290 million revenue from casino operations would be used to lower the business enterprise tax rate from .75 percent to .25 percent and the business profits tax rate from 8.5 percent to 4.3 percent.
However, not all are in favour of passing the bill. Opponents have expressed skepticism about these revenue estimates and said that the gambling facilities would take away the disposable income of many Granite Staters and tax it at a high rate. They also expressed their concern about the citizens of the state, saying that the gambling industry would bring high social costs.
“Casinos are economic and social black holes. You don't solve the problem by making it four times worse by allowing four casinos within easy drive time of almost every town in our state,” said Jim Rubens, chairman of the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling.
Owner of Tuscan Kitchen restaurant in Salem, Joe Faro, said that the bill once passed would not only boost tourism , but would benefit the business climate throughout the state.
He said, “This look at the business profits and business enterprise tax is long overdue, and it's going to do great things for the state.”
By Wednesday or Thursday, the bill is expected to come up for a vote.