CONCORD, N.H. -- A gambling analyst cautioned a special commission Thursday that New Hampshire should separate licensing and enforcement operations if the state legalizes casino gambling.
The Gambling Regulatory Oversight Authority held a public hearing on the regulatory structure the state should have if it moves ahead with a casino. The panel is required to submit draft legislation to lawmakers by mid-December on regulations needed for overseeing a casino.
Clyde Barrow, a gambling policy analyst, said separating licensing and enforcement is considered a best practice in states with casinos. Barrow, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, said most states assign the enforcement responsibility to state police. Lottery commissions often are responsible for licensing, he said.
New Hampshire's Lottery Commission oversees the lottery while the state's Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission is in charge of charitable gambling and racing.
Many witnesses testified the two commissions do a good job now of overseeing their respective areas of gambling. Proponents of charitable gambling urged the panel not to recommend changes that would hurt their fundraising efforts.
State Rep. Katherine Rogers, D-Concord, said the Lottery Commission should have primary oversight of any casino. She said the commission has effectively operated the state's lottery for more than 50 years without scandal.
Barrow said expanding gambling in New Hampshire would not require "a behemoth government bureaucracy." He said an assistant lottery director could have oversight of video lottery games and another assistant director could handle table games. They would need a small staff to handle licensing administration and auditing, he said.