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Speedway, NH casino called a natural fit, track's GM says


LOUDON — The general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway said he has two reasons to testify at today’s public hearing on Senate Bill 366, which would allow two casinos to share 5,000 video slot machines and 240 table games.

Jerry Gappens said it’s the best casino bill the state has seen yet, and if there are two casinos in the state, one should be in Loudon.

“We keep hearing from opponents of the casino bills that casinos would change the character of New Hampshire, but it’s just not true,” he said. “People talk about it like we would change to be like Las Vegas or Atlantic City, but a more accurate comparison would be what’s happened in Oxford (Maine) or at places like Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.”

Gappens points out that both of those casinos advertise at the speedway, which attracts 400,000 people each year for its two NASCAR races.

“Maine, Connecticut, now Massachusetts are offering it, and they’re trying to draw our visitors there,” he said of casino gambling.

A speedway study in 2010 showed NHMS could build a small casino, with 750 slot machines and 24 table games, that would bring $50 million in revenues in its first year.

“We have a 24-year track record of success, and it would be a natural addition to what we do here,” Gappens said.

dseufert@newstote.com

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