Residents of New Hampshire’s second-largest city will have to wait a little bit longer to find out if they’re getting a casino.
EC NH Real Estate Holdings, Inc. was slated to appear before the Nashua City Planning Board to ask for a permit to begin the development of a casino in a former Sears department store in Pheasant Lane Mall. However, the board chose to postpone the permit ask until Thursday’s meeting.
What to expect for New Hampshire’s next charitable casino
The casino scene in New Hampshire is a bit different than in most states. Casinos are legal, but only if a charitable organization is operating it. As a result, casino gaming has progressed slowly since the charitable casino law went into effect in the 2000s. For example, the state’s casinos aren’t allowed to have slot machines.
However, a 2021 law made historic horse racing (HHR) legal. The machines allow patrons to bet on horse races that have already happened. So, while they’re not traditional slot machines, per se, New Hampshire casinos have welcomed them as an alternative to slots.
EC NH plans to call the new casino “The Mint,” and, according to a city official, EC NH will not change the building’s exterior. Inside, the casino plans to offer 1,200 HHR machines and 62 table games, according to an article by the New Hampshire Union Leader.
That makes the proposed gaming facility significantly bigger than another casino that’s in the works: Concord’s Imagine Casino. The property, which will be about a 30-minute drive from Nashua, will have 486 slot machines and 21 table games.
Casino property is in a prime area for drawing traffic
Part of what makes the former Sears location so attractive for investors and casino operators is the amount of traffic the property could get.
Atlantic Capital Partners, the firm that sold the property, said the mall gets more than seven million visitors a year. Additionally, there are 81,266 residents within a three-mile radius of the mall, and 62,000 vehicles a day pass by the general area where the mall is, according to a post by the New England Real Estate Journal.
Clairvest Group Inc. and ELC Entertainment, the two firms that bought the old Sears property and obtained the gaming license required to run the casino, pointed out the property’s potential in a May press release.
“We look forward to working with the Clairvest team over the next few years to build NHCG into one of the most sought-after HHR gaming platforms in the New Hampshire market,” ECL Managing Partner Marc Falcone commented via Globe Newswire.