Concord and NH start process to limit casino locations and hours

Posted on: May 20, 2024, 11:34 am.

Last updated: May 20, 2024, 11:34 am.

Concord, NH officials have proposed an ordinance that would limit where casinos can be located in the city. Additional restrictions may also be approved.

Andy Sanborn
Andy Sanborn, pictured above. Its two casinos in Concord, NH will not be affected by the proposed city ordinances. None of its casinos are open. (Image: WMUR)

Last week, the city’s Planning Board backed the restrictions as part of a first phase to limit the locations of casino operations.

Local residents can speak about the controversial topic during a public hearing on July 8. The municipal council can also choose to consider the issue.

But the city can’t ban casinos entirely.

“We are a home rule state, which means municipalities can only do what the law authorizes us to do,” Tim Thompson, Concord’s deputy director of community development, explained to the Planning Board last Wednesday, according to the Concord Monitora local news channel.

Under state law, New Hampshire allows gambling for charitable purposes in communities.

There is a risk of banning the use, but we can regulate it,” Thompson told Planning Board members.

Possible rules

Under the new proposal, gambling activities would apparently be allowed in areas of Concord where they would be considered an accessory use.

Under the proposal, there would be no full-time, standalone casinos Monitor. They were not allowed to operate more than four times a year Monitor further reported.

For example, the gaming could be affiliated with places of worship or nonprofit organizations that typically host fundraising events. These include games such as bingo.

Currently, charity gaming facilities in Concord are considered “commercial indoor recreation facilities” under zoning regulations. Monitor.

They are allowed in much of the city under existing ordinances. But that could change.

“These are allowed in a variety of different zoning districts that are not necessarily conducive to these types of activities,” Thompson told the board.

Sanborn not affected

The new proposals would not affect the two charity casinos linked to controversial casino owner Andy Sanborn.

One of these, the Concord Casino, was located at The Draft Sports Bar and Grill in Concord. The casino is currently closed.

Sanborn was ordered to sell the playground or face revocation of the operation’s permit. The permit had already been suspended.

Sanborn was found ineligible for a charity casino license after a state hearing that examined his application for COVID relief funds. He was awarded $844,000 in federal pandemic funds after an improper application and misuse of funds, officials said.

Sanborn is accused of using $181,000 of that money on two Porsche race cars, and $80,000 on a Ferrari for his wife, state Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R., officials added. He also allegedly used more than $183,000 in rent.

In January, Sanborn would start looking for a buyer to take over the company. Reportedly, little progress had been made on sales early this year.

The transaction must be completed by July 1, according to a ruling by New Hampshire officials.

Sanborn’s second proposed casino, also in Concord, has yet to open.