Imagine for a second you’re dealt a 10 at the Blackjack tables. The second card? You want an Ace, but you’re dealt a 2. The dealer shows a face card. You need to hit. So you do, and you land an Ace. Now you’ve got 13. You hit again and you get 2. Now you’re up to 15. Once more? Another Ace brings you 16. You’ve got no choice but to hit. And when you do, you’re dealt a 5.
Congrats on getting 21. It’s not a Blackjack, but what are the odds the dealer will pull out 21? He flips over a card and you’re relieved to see a 2. He deals himself another card. You’re hoping for a 10, but he lands a 9. He’s also got 21. It’s a tie. You push, and after all that work you’ve got nothing to show for it.
Horrible feeling right? Well that’s kind of what happened in the New Hampshire House the other day. In a vote to legalize two new casinos that would house 5,000 slot machines and loads of table games, the final vote was 172-172. Yup, a tie.
And in New Hampshire, when there’s a tie, the Speaker of the House gets to break the tie. She ultimately voted to kill the bill.
The fact that the bill was defeated shouldn’t come as much of a shock to residents of New Hampshire. A previous bill to legalize one casino in the state did not pass, so it was unlikely that a bill to legalize two would. But it came pretty damn close.
There’s a lot at stake in New Hampshire and this issue goes beyond just people’s right to gamble. New Hampshire actually takes in about $185 million per year by taxing hospitals. But a superior court has ruled that the hospital tax is unconstitutional. The casino supporters have argued that they desperately need the money, but now they’ll have to return to the drawing board.
New Hampshire doesn’t want to legalize land-based casinos because they believe it wall harm the state’s image. This might be a good opportunity to look to online casinos instead. In New Jersey, the online properties are raking in hundreds of millions every month. Perhaps a state-run casino solution in New Hampshire could see the state collecting a lot of cash from gamblers beyond just tax revenue.
Whatever happens, we imagine there will be another vote on casino legalization in New Hampshire soon. We’ll keep you posted with the updates as they happen.