Casino events

Concord Casino wants to build a new site; others develop for historic horse racing

Oct. 30—The owners of Concord Casino hope to expand in a multi-phase project that will include a charity gaming center, restaurant, events center and hotel.

Concord Casino is among several charitable gaming ventures in Granite State aiming to expand their operations.

The proposed venue would be built on Break O’Day Drive off Loudon Road. The parcel is visible from Interstate 393. Phase 1 includes a 24,000 square foot game room and a 4,800 square foot restaurant.

Andy and Laurie Sanborn, managing partners, will present the plans to the Concord Planning Board. Andy Sanborn is a former Republican senator from Bedford and Laurie is a state representative.

Andy Sanborn said the project will be a gateway for those visiting or passing through Concord from the west or north. The east side of the city remains largely undeveloped, according to project demand.

Much of the move is related to the addition of historic horse racing, approved last year. Historical horse racing games look and function the same as other gambling machines, but players choose the winners of randomly selected horse races that have already been run.

Historic horse racing had brought in $450,000 for the state with only two locations allowed so far, according to Rick Newman, a New Hampshire lobbyist for the industry. A third location, The Lucky Moose Casino & Tavern, also offers the machines.

“As this starts to increase, state revenues will increase,” he said. The industry as a whole is expected to raise $18-22 million for charity through bingo, Lucky 7 and other games of chance.

Eventually, other facilities will offer historic horse racing.

Filotimo Casino & Restaurant in Manchester has been outfitted for the machines but is still waiting to be cleared, according to owner Dick Anagnost.

Many of these casinos are looking to expand to maximize the amount of money that can be raised for charity, as permitted by national regulations.

Anagnost has also expanded and is awaiting redundancy at Dover and Keene. Facilities in Conway and Lebanon are under construction, he said.

Recently, some national gaming operators had bought or entered into an agreement to buy casinos.

New Hampshire has a scaled-down version of the game with maximum bets, which is more of a form of entertainment, Anagnost said.

Kentucky-based Churchill Downs bought Chasers Poker Room in Salem and Buffalo-based Delaware North reached an agreement to buy Boston Billiards Club in Nashua.

Chasers will expand into a former Kmart.

The Brook has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation since Nevada-based Eureka Casino Resort acquired the former Seabrook Park property in 2019.

There are 15 charitable gaming facilities statewide.

Anagnost said out-of-state companies bought out local operators because of the costs associated with expanding to include the new machines.

“You see more of that with the $25,000 cost per machine,” he said.

The Sanborns opened the small downtown casino in 2019, knowing that allowing betting on historic horse races would pass the Legislative Assembly.

“We opened a very small facility recognizing that we were going to build something bigger to meet market needs,” Andy Sanborn said. “We kind of waited for HHR to come through.”

For more than a year, the Sanborns searched for a space to move before they came across the highly visible vacant plot. The casino will undergo a rebranding and will be renamed.

“It’s a big piece of land,” he said. “It’s directly on the 393, just off the on and off ramp.”

Sanborn said adding historic horse racing will help the company double its charitable contributions.

“For us, it’s about trying to reduce the pressure on the state budget and on local budgets,” he said. “To provide a place of entertainment where people can come and have fun, and in doing so, help those who need it most in our communities.”

The building will reflect an old mill building and the restaurant will pay homage to New Hampshire, which includes the option of displaying a historic Concord coach in the lobby. The landscape will be enhanced with birches and maples.

The future hotel and events center will be designed to be “exciting, fun and funky” and designed for business people and tourists. The event space could accommodate small concerts and other events.

He acknowledged that the industry was coming out of tough times during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most people are trying to get back to some sense of normalcy and business and business are picking up,” he said.

Anagnost said the projects will be a boon to the charities the gaming facilities support and the state for tax revenue.

“Instead of having a big stake in the casino and having all that money shipped to where its headquarters are, most of the money mostly stays here in our state,” he said. . “And that benefits the most needy.”