New Hampshire: Keene mayor supports casino restriction zoning amendment

October 26, 2023

A meeting to consider the ordinance is set for next month.

Keene Mayor George Hansel has backed a zoning amendment that would prohibit casinos within the city’s downtown core, according to a New Hampshire Business Review local report. The amendment would limit casino expansion to specific city zoning districts.

The Keene Planning Board and the City Council’s Planning, Licenses and Development Committee are scheduled to hear the ordinance during a joint meeting next month.

If approved, charitable gaming facilities would be restricted to commerce and downtown growth districts, according to the local report.

Keene is currently home to one charitable gaming facility, Wonder Casino, which is part of the downtown growth district.

City Senior Planner Mari Brunner described charitable gaming facilities as those that “fall under the definition of indoor recreation/entertainment facilities, which typically refers to movie theaters, bowling alleys or golf simulators.”

As of now, traditional casinos are still illegal in New Hampshire. However, the state allows its venues to offer players table-based and machine-based games that are connected to local charities. The current law on the books allows charities statewide to partner with charitable gaming operators, as long as they do not exceed 10 gaming dates per year.

In other related news, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu recently signed Senate Bill 120 into law, which raises the cap on individual game of chance wagers from $10 to $50.

Along with the cap increase, the bill raises how much players can spend on games like poker, blackjack and roulette. The overall total each player can spend increased from $150 per game to $2,500 per game under the new legislation.

Charitable casinos, however, have the liberty to set their own limits on wagering amounts that are within the range set by the state.


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