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Republican Gov. candidate Hemingway supports slot machines for charities

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 21. 2014 3:00PM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway will soon release a gaming expansion plan that allows for slot machines in charitable gambling halls and a bigger share of the take for the state, his campaign consultant said.The Hemingway plan would not allow for for-profit casinos, said campaign consultant Alicia Preston.Preston said Hemingway is preparing details of the plan, which she called a limited expansion of gaming.She said Hemingway has advocated the plan recently on the stump but not in detail. Details should be released within the next two weeks.“Andrew's program puts an emphasis on the more than 200 charities each year that benefit by increasing charitable revenue by at least 400 percent. In addition, the state will see a huge revenue increase and municipalities will also have a financial stake,” Preston said. “This is good for charities, local and state government and the free market.”While the state of New Hampshire has no casinos, there are 12 locations where charitable gaming takes place on a regular basis, said Paul Kelley, director of the New Hampshire Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission. No slot machines are permitted at such facilities.Charities roughly receive 35 percent of proceeds from the gambling, which includes table games such as black jack, roulette, poker and Texas Hold ‘Em. The state's take is smaller - 3 percent or 10 percent, based on whether the game uses chips with monetary value, such as black jack, or chips without monetary value, such as Texas Hold ‘Em.Between charitable gaming, bingo and simulcast, the state took in $3.5 million in revenues last year; charities took in $13.1 million, Kelley said.One charity is the Palace Theatre in Manchester, which raised about $40,000 last year from 10 dates at Rockingham Park. Palace President Peter Ramsey said he hasn't heard about Hemingway's plan.Ramsey, a supporter of casino legislation, is a Democratic state representative.He said Hemingway's plan would depend on whether the Legislature votes on casino legislation.“If we don't get casinos,” he said, “it probably should be looked at.”

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