Governor Lynch is correct in his statement that there cannot be a casino pilot program in New Hampshire.
The casinos are either here or they aren’t.
But this statement and assumption was made, I think, about land based casinos and yet there is another possibility for a casino pilot program that should be explored.
NH State Port Authority, Portsmouth, NH.
A 90 day pilot program allowing cruise ships to dock at the State Port Authority and allow gaming at the same time. New Hampshire and the City of Portsmouth would stand to gain substantial revenue though gaming in addition to increasing the potential uses for the port authority and its role in Portsmouth. Having cruise ships in the port area would also lead to other tourism based ventures and business activity and further expand the local taxbase.As a part of my idea I did some conservative number crunching to see what kind of revenue might be realistic and possible through this 90 day pilot program. I’m using the following:
State of NH collects 51% of the gaming revenue.
City of Portsmouth collects 4.75% of the gaming revenue.
Room & Meals Tax 9.00%
Of the 90 days the vessels are in port 72 days would be the likely time frame for gaming revenue generation. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that the gaming would generate $21,000.00 per day (taxable) and the room and meals tax would $6300.00 per day, the later is based on 2,000 people visits per day with an average purchase of $35.00 for food, drinks, souvenirs, etc. This room and meals does not include nearby businesses including lodging facilities that would see an increase in room & meals tax business as a result of the cruise ships being in port.
So it breaks down like this:
Total Gaming Revenues $1,512,000.00
State of NH 771,120.00
Tax Revenue Gaming $842,940.00
Room & Meals Tax $453,600.00
Total Taxes Collected $1,296,540.00
The State of New Hampshire collects $1.3 million dollars for 90 days. Then the pilot program ends and the ships take to the sea.
Before stating that this pilot program wouldn’t work consider what is at the NH State Port Authority now-- and this is piles of scrap metal and some overgrown weeds. I’m confident that the voters of Maine will pass the referendum this November and the dredging of the Maine harbor will begin soon after.
This will be the death toll for the Port of Portsmouth unless something is done.