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It appears NH sports betting is on its way to legislative approval after a key senator backed down from a game of chicken to attach a doomed casino expansion to the proposal.
With the House once again shooting down his proposal to add casinos in New Hampshire — which this time included language to authorize legal sports betting — Sen. Lou D’Allesandro tells Legal Sports Report he will not attempt to attach the casino language to H 480.
“They won’t accept the subject matter,” D’Allesandro said. “Whether it be the budget or the sports betting bill, it will kill whatever you attach it to. I’m choosing not to kill the sports betting bill.”
D’Allesandro previously tried to authorize two casinos in New Hampshire, one of the few states without them, since 1999. Even with NH sports betting attached, the House once again defeated his proposal, 289-63.
The House then sent an even stronger message to D’Allesandro not to try to attach casino language to its New Hampshire sports betting bill by voting to indefinitely postpone the casino bill. That action blocks any similar bills from clearing the House this session without a two-thirds majority.
D’Allesandro previously hinted to LSR he might counter the House’s move by adding casino language to the House bill and letting the issue go to a conference committee.
However, that wasn’t going to do any good. Such a committee would have been made up of leadership from the House Ways and Means Committee that already had recommended against S 310.
“The House is not amenable to casinos right now, and anything that the Senate puts in to that effect will act as a poison pill to the whole bill,” said Rep. Timothy Lang, sponsor of H 480.
Without D’Allesandro hooking an albatross to the House bill, NH sports betting legislation should get a signature soon. D’Allesandro expects the Senate to pass the bill next Thursday.
Sen. Bob Giuda plans to amend the bill on the Senate floor prior to a vote. That means the bill would need to get concurrence from the House before heading to the governor’s desk.
Lang previously detailed to LSR the amendments he would like to see the Senate make to his bill.
“I’m willing to say the House sports betting bill is going to pass in the Senate,” D’Allesandro said. “It may not look like the sports betting bill we saw come over, but I think it’s going to pass.”
NH Gov. Chris Sununu is behind authorizing sports betting, having included $10 million from the activity in the budget.
D’Allesandro pledged that he won’t give up on bringing casinos to New Hampshire, but it will be two years before he gets another shot as the NH legislature only meets in odd years.
“It’s a tough business,” D’Allesandro said. “It’s like climbing Mt. Everest.”