New charitable gaming casino, poker room gets final approval in SalemBy MELISSA PROULX
Union Leader Correspondent
August 10. 2017 10:40PM
SALEM — Gamblers for charity, get ready.
Developers of the Cheers Casino and Poker Room got final Planning Board approval Tuesday to open at 286 N. Broadway.
Work to be done at the site involves making repairs to the parking lot, improving the landscaping and refurbishing the building.
The casino will seat approximately 300 people, and have 25 poker tables and 10 carnival game tables.
The casino will be open until 1 a.m., but it’s not yet known how many days of the week it will operate. A police officer will be required on site during peak hours as a safety precaution.
Owner Dan Dandreo calculated the size of the operation after studying the traffic at Rockingham Park the summer before it closed.
“We had to figure out if it was going to be economically viable,” he said.
Food and beverages will be served at the casino, and Dandreo characterized the menu offerings as high-quality pub food with healthy ingredients.
“We’re going to have clean, quality food,” he said. “Even if it’s a sandwich, it’s going to be one of the best sandwiches you’ve ever had.”
Dandreo has already obtained his license to operate the facility from the state’s Gaming Commission.
Residents approved a zoning ordinance at the annual town meeting in March allowing charitable gaming operations in commercial and industrial zones. Cheers is the first to take advantage of it, said Planning Director Ross Moldoff.
Charitable gaming means that a portion of profits are donated to charities. Fully for-profit gambling and Keno outside of the state lottery is not allowed in New Hampshire.
Construction work continues at the site. The grand opening is expected for sometime in September.
This is one of two charitable gaming casinos looking to set up in town.
The owners of the Grand China restaurant and Billiards at 7 Veterans Memorial Parkway are proposing putting in a charitable gaming facility in their building, which is sandwiched between Mary Ann’s Diner and the Salem Police Department, “which probably isn’t a bad thing,” joked Mark Gross, a principal engineer at MHF Design Consultants who is working on the project.
The restaurant would remain open, though there would be more limited seating. The plans call for four dining tables and a 12-seat bar for patrons.
Sixteen poker tables and seven pit games are being proposed for the site.
In all, the total occupancy would be capped at 245 in a building that’s approved for up to 300.
The facility would be open from about noon until 1 a.m., with peak hours being primarily between 4 and 9 p.m.