CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A special gambling panel charged with developing regulations for a future casino voted Friday to recommend that New Hampshire legalize one casino with up to 5,000 video slots and 150 table games.
The New Hampshire Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority voted 8-1 to approve draft legislation that authorizes a new commission to begin licensing a casino. The Legislature will consider the bill next year.
Attorney General Joseph Foster praised the panel's work to include strong regulations for the casino, but voted against the proposal. Foster said his office will fight the bill when lawmakers consider it next year. He said he recognizes that charities benefit now from games of chance in New Hampshire, but legalizing a commercial casino would foster more social costs.
"We're going from little leagues to big leagues in terms of the dollar cost of problem gamblers," Foster said.
The panel was created after the House killed a casino bill that passed the Senate with strong backing from Gov. Maggie Hassan. The bill rejected in May would have allowed the construction of one casino with 5,000 slot machines and 150 table games. Hassan hoped the special panel would address concerns opponents had expressed about inadequate regulations.
Casino supporters are concerned New Hampshire will lose revenue to Massachusetts, which is in the process of licensing three casinos and one video slots parlor.
The panel hired WhiteSands Gaming to help draft the bill, and state Rep. Richard Ames, the panel's chairman, said he would sponsor it.