SEABROOK — When Andre Carrier walks around the 95,000-square-foot facility on 75 acres of land he recently purchased in Seabrook, he envisions large charitable gaming events to raise money for local causes and an entertainment destination for people who like to gamble.
Carrier, who has roots in Jackson, and his business partner Greg Lee, who attended St. Paul’s School in Concord, are turning Seabrook Greyhound Park into a 100 percent employee-owned casino. On Thursday, Carrier sat down to explain their strategy.
Carrier operates Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite, Nev., and another casino in Las Vegas. The location in Mesquite has 550 workers and in 2016 it became employee-owned.
As Carrier and Lee looked to diversify investments for employees at the Mesquite location they realized they could diversify by industry, location, or both. They had been watching the gambling regulations in a number of states, but when the opportunity came to add another casino just off Interstate 95 in New Hampshire, coming home just made sense.
“One of the great things about coming home is every time we’re here, it’s actually relaxing as opposed to stressful,” Carrier said.
Carrier said the deal they struck with the family who owned the property for 45 years was mutually beneficial because they had been struggling to find a buyer who was the right fit. Through the sales agreement, employees who dedicated their lives to Seabrook Greyhound Park were able to keep their jobs, and the tradition of gambling in that location can continue.
Right now, the facility is undergoing renovations but is still open.
Carrier said when it is completed, there will be a restaurant and pub, an area with couches and cinema chairs for people to watch sporting events and the outside area where the dogs used to run can be used for any number of activities.
“We’re going to mature it, so it looks and feels like it does in other casinos in America, but we’ll professionalize and mature it in the New Hampshire way,” Carrier said.
Since Carrier does not plan to expand the facility yet, he does not need to go through any local boards for approval. But he is hoping legislators at the state level approve expanded sports betting to include other professional sports beyond horse racing. Super Bowl parties would be a perfect fit for the space, he said.
Carrier is a big fan of the New Hampshire charitable gaming system, where 35 percent of the proceeds from gambling goes to charitable causes. In Mesquite, they have supported summer reading programs for children and college tours for middle school students so they can envision themselves getting an advanced degree one day.
Carrier said the large venue in Seabrook will allow them to partner with local organizations to help them fulfill their goals. He used the example of the Kentucky Derby as a perfect dress-up event to raise money and awareness for charities in need.
Seabrook Greyhound Park on New Zealand Road was originally opened in 1973. Live greyhound racing took place there until 2010, when the practice was outlawed in the state.