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Study says gambling not big money for state

CONCORD - A study released Thursday indicates a casino in New Hampshire would generate far less income for the state than supporters of several gambling proposals before the Legislature have stated.

According to the study done by the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, because of the social costs of gambling, the state would not receive a net benefit if the gambling income is taxed at 30 percent or less.

With a 40 percent tax rate and a $300 million casino, the state is projected to receive about $32 million a year, and with a larger investment of $500 million in the casino, the state would receive $51 million.The sponsors of Senate Bill 152, which has the backing of Gov. Maggie Hassan, say a $425 million casino would generate $130 million in revenue for the state annually.

The report also notes the state should not expect revenue from the casino for two years after it is approved, although the state could reap a multi-million-dollar licensing fee sooner.

The study indicates the licensing fee could be higher than the one proposed in SB 152.

The licensing fee for a southern New Hampshire casino could be as high as $100 million, according to the authors of the study, although it would depend on the tax rate on gambling revenues and nearby competition.

Senate Bill 152 would assess an $80 million licensing fee.

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