A New Hampshire sportsbook could come to Rochester as part of a new casino at the Lilac Mall. That is if the city’s voters approve it in the November ballot.
The city election ballot takes place on Nov. 7. Rochester voters will need to answer whether the city should allow the operation of retail sportsbooks. If voters approve, it would only be allowed in the city’s highway commercial zone.
In 2019, Rochester voters rejected the possibility of a sportsbook opening in a vote of 1,488 – 1,439.
The state legalized New Hampshire sports betting in 2019 when Gov. Chris Sununu signed bill H480 into law. Both online sports betting and retail sportsbooks are legal in the state, with DraftKings being the only online betting option.
Rochester City Council held public hearing on the NH sportsbook
With only a few weeks left ahead of the Nov. 7 vote, the Rochester City Council held a public hearing on the sportsbook question on Oct. 17.
During the meeting, the New Hampshire Lottery’s executive director, Charlie McIntyre, noted state law has approved 10 physical sportsbook locations, with DraftKings being the exclusive provider of online sports betting at:
- Filotimo Casino & Restaurant in the Dover Bowl complex
- Filotimo Casino & DraftKings Sportsbook in Manchester
- The Brook Casino in Seabrook
- The River Casino & Sports Bar in Nashua
According to a Seacoastonline article, McIntyre said:
“The difference between physical locations and online betting is the locations are usually sports bars where you can go and bet on the games you are watching. Online betting usually occurs in the home, on games, or lottery tickets.”
McIntyre also emphasized New Hampshire was the second in per capita revenue for lottery gambling income last year. When asked how the revenue generated from lottery betting is distributed, McIntyre answered:
“It is dedicated to an education trust fund, and it cannot be directed anywhere else. Last year, Rochester received $6.7 million in lottery funds dedicated to education.”
Rochester planning board approved NH charitable casino in Lilac Mall
Last month, Rochester’s planning board approved the NH charitable casino project to move forward. The board okayed New England Gaming and Consulting’s plans for a new casino in Lilac Mall.
If everything goes as planned, the gaming venue should open its doors as early as next year. A 32,000-square-foot casino will include:
- 26 gaming tables
- Nearly 225 historical horse racing machines
Dwayne MacEwen and his DMAC Architecture & Interiors firm are helping design the project that Greg Carlin bought for $5 million earlier this year.
Like all casinos in New Hampshire, the new gaming venue must give 35% of earnings to non-profits.
The Lilac Mall location would be the second new casino proposal in the past six months after Concord city officials approved the development of Imagine Casino.