The House Ways and Means Committee passed a bill last week that has potential implications for the casino industry in New Hampshire. SB 112 extends the moratorium on new Historic Horse Racing licenses but includes a carve-out for any pending license currently under consideration by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. The bill would limit Historic Horse Racing to already licensed casinos and the five pending casino applicants.
The identities of those applying for casino licenses are being kept confidential, as it is prohibited by state law to disclose the identities of applicants while their applications are under review. This secrecy has caused speculation about who may be behind the five applications currently under consideration.
There are suspicions that Tuscan Village developer Joe Faro and the family behind Sal’s Pizza may be involved in a new casino project in Salem. However, both parties did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.
Additionally, Michael Lupoli, the son of Sal Lupoli, is listed as the manager of Aces of Salem LLC, a casino group that has filed an application. The LLC was created in 2022, and it is not confirmed whether their application is among the five currently under review by the Lottery Commission.
The secretive nature of the application process is intended to protect the applicant’s reputations until their suitability investigations are complete. It is strictly prohibited by state law to disclose the names of applicants to anyone outside of the Lottery Commission.
Historic Horse Racing, also known as Insta-Racing, is expected to bring in a significant amount of revenue for casinos in New Hampshire. The game operates similarly to a slot machine, using the results of thousands of horse races to create a fast-moving betting game. Casinos stand to benefit greatly from the revenue generated by Historic Horse Racing, as they collect 75 percent of the gross revenue from these machines.
The House’s decision to extend the moratorium has caused concern among some legislators, who believe it is premature to make significant decisions about the industry before the completion of a gaming study commission’s work. Despite opposition, the bill passed through the House Ways and Means Committee, leaving the casino industry in New Hampshire in a state of uncertain anticipation.