NASHUA — At least seven municipalities throughout the state will be allowing voters to decide later this year whether sports betting should be permitted in their cities, including Nashua.
On Tuesday, aldermen unanimously voted to place the matter on the Nov. 5 ballot, which will ask voters to allow the operation of sports book retail locations within the city.
“We are looking for high-end, sort of sports bar entertainment,” Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, told the Board of Aldermen.
Earlier this year, Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law House Bill 480 to permit sports wagering in the Granite State.
However, sports book operations may only operate in municipalities that have voted to allow sports betting.
To date, Manchester, Nashua, Laconia, Franklin, Dover, Concord and Berlin officials have authorized voters to take up the matter this fall at the polls. Claremont, Portsmouth and Somersworth are also considering placing it on their upcoming ballots.
There will be a limit of 10 sports book retail locations in New Hampshire, according to McIntyre.
“The best kind of money is out-of-state money,” said McIntyre, explaining a sports betting location in Nashua along the border with Massachusetts would likely attract a majority of Massachusetts residents.
“So I can’t negotiate contracts ahead of time, but certainly that is where our heads are at,” he told city officials.
New Hampshire Lottery is currently accepting bids to find a vendor or vendors to help with the sports betting process, and responses are not due for a couple of weeks, explained McIntyre.
Once the proposal is placed on the local ballot, the proposed locations for sports book retail sites will be known relatively quickly, and then the normal business licensing process will need to be followed, he said.
As a result of the sports betting, an additional $10 million is expected to be contributed to the state’s education fund during the second year of the budget, according to McIntyre.
There will be three ways to place bets, which includes the maximum 10 sports book locations in New Hampshire, at select lottery vendors and via mobile in New Hampshire with proper age verification.
“This may come as a shock to you, but folks now use their phone to bet on sports … it is certainly the way folks wager currently, by and large,” he said, adding the sports book retail sites will add the component of an entertainment environment.
Jim Rafferty, general manager at The River Casino and Sports Bar in Nashua, urged city officials to support the proposal and allow voters to decide the fate of sports betting in the Gate City.
“Nashua has led the way in Keno, and we think we should lead the way here in sports betting,” said Rafferty.
Throughout the past 12 years, The River has raised more than $3 million that has been distributed to 106 different charities, he said. Sports betting, added Rafferty, could be beautifully combined with charitable gaming.
A public hearing has been set for 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at Nashua City Hall for residents to voice their thoughts on the proposal.