New Hampshire Bill Would Change How Casinos Work with Charities

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Legislators in New Hampshire are gearing up for an upcoming bill aimed at safeguarding charitable contributions by curbing casinos' ability to deduct lease payments. This action comes in response to a heated conflict that unfolded between the Concord Casino and its proprietor, Andy Sanborn, who also happens to be a former state legislator.

Charitable Gaming Model Under Fire

Ever since the legalization of charitable gaming in 2006, there has been a notable surge in the rent increases. For instance, establishments like The Brook in Seabrook, have enjoyed a substantial growth, earning no less than $1 million per month in total revenue.

Casinos have been given the authority by the Lottery Commission to set their rental prices according to the actual value of each use. However, this system has resulted in reducing charitable contributions by 50% in certain instances.

Concord Casino accumulates an estimated $1 million in yearly revenue. Had it adhered to paying the complete 35%, $80,000 would have been allocated toward charitable causes, but the casino kept the money.

Sanborn faces allegations of misappropriating funds designated for COVID-19 relief efforts. He was accused of engaging in fraudulent activities, employing them to acquire luxury vehicles and make other unauthorized purchases. He has repeatedly delayed hearings to discuss his casino license, which expires next month.

New Hampshire Considers Shift in Gambling Approach

New Hampshire is in the process of exploring changes to its approach to charitable gambling and gaming in general. The state government has created an exploration committee that has now designated $125,000 out of the $150,000 provided by the state for the recruitment of advisors. These funds are derived from the budget of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.

The distribution of revenue among the state, charities, and casinos will be thoroughly examined by the advisors as they investigate New Hampshire's charitable gaming sector. Under the state's current legislation governing charitable gaming, casinos have the ability to levy a house fee on charities that use their facilities for money-raising events. The charity organizations are entitled to 35% of the casino's total earnings.

Additionally, a further 10% of the proceeds must be allocated to the state's lottery commission, ultimately benefiting public education. Occasionally, the donations received by the charity end up being just half of their rightful share, as the remaining portion is consumed by the cost of rent given to the casino.

This model may change once the consultation is complete. However, there is currently no indication of when that might happen or what reforms may be suggested.

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