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Andy Sanborn to Lose Concord Casino as Fraud Charges Loom

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The Concord Casino in New Hampshire is facing an uncertain future as its owner, former state Senator Andy Sanborn, finds himself embroiled in a legal battle that could result in the casino's closure. On Thursday, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission suspended Sanborn's operating and gaming licenses for six months, citing accusations of fraudulent obtaining and use of COVID-19 relief funds. This decision effectively renders Sanborn ineligible to be involved in the state's charitable gaming business model.

Concord Casino to go Dark January 1

The commission's decision, issued by independent hearing officer Michael King, comes in response to allegations that Sanborn misrepresented his business activity and eligibility for federal COVID-19 relief funds. Sanborn, in an attempt to bypass the restrictions on casinos receiving these funds, masked the registered trade name "Concord Casino" on his EIDL application. He instead used the name "Win Win Win LLC" and categorized the business activity as "miscellaneous."

Related: Andy Sanborn Argues State Incompetence as He Fights for Casino License

Sanborn's actions drew scrutiny from Michael Evans, a consultant aiding him with the application. Evans expressed concerns about the misrepresentation, but Sanborn persisted in his efforts to secure the relief funds. This, coupled with the subsequent misappropriation of the funds for personal use, led to the commission's decision to suspend Sanborn's licenses.

However, the commission's ruling has far-reaching consequences for Concord Casino. The casino is now mandated to cease operations on January 1, 2024, unless Sanborn sells the business to a buyer approved by the commission within the next six months. This deadline leaves Sanborn with a limited window to find a suitable buyer and secure the future of the casino.

Possible Appeal Ahead

Sanborn's attorney, Mark Knights, maintains that the Lottery Commission's decision was unwarranted. He argues that punishment for a wrongful application for federal COVID-19 relief funds falls outside the commission's jurisdiction and that the misrepresentations on the application do not warrant the suspension of his licenses.

As the legal battle between Sanborn and the commission continues, both parties are carefully evaluating their options. While Sanborn hopes to overturn the suspension decision, the commission remains committed to upholding its integrity and ensuring that the charitable gaming business operates within the bounds of ethical conduct. The outcome of this case will have a significant impact on the future of Concord Casino and the state's charitable gaming industry as a whole.

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