It was recently reported that Greg Carlin, principal of New England Gaming and Consulting LLC, has submitted a proposal to the City of Rochester to open a charitable gaming casino at Lilac Mall, a shopping mall recently purchased by the aforementioned principal’s company called GSG Rochester Propco LLC of Manchester. He also urged for a chance to introduce the proposal at the meeting of the Rochester Planning Board that will be held on September 11.
Additionally, plans for the city to begin adding sportsbook gambling and casino games are already moving along without a hitch as Rochesters officials are willing to cooperate.
Paving the way for a casino in Rochester:
As mentioned above, the under-crowded mall was purchased by the GSG Rochester Propco LLC of Manchester, a holding firm. Furthermore, the sale was officially marked down on May 4th at the Strafford County Registry of Deeds.
During this half of the year, the Rochester City Council has already taken steps to bring a casino to Rochester. Commenting on the possibility of opening a charitable gaming casino in Rochester, Rochester Mayor Paul Callaghan said: “New England Gaming holds one of the 11 licenses available in New Hampshire for charitable gambling facilities.”
However, the proposed casino could be a new addition to the existing 3 DraftKings charitable gaming casinos and sportsbooks in New Hampshire, the Filotimo Casino and Restaurant at the Dower Bowl complex and The Brook casino in Seabrook. In addition, each casino in New Hampshire have the obligation to give part of their profits to non-profit organizations.
Voters will be asked for their opinion:
Three days ago, on August 1, the City Council voted unanimously to ask people who will vote in the November 7 election if they have no objection towards sportsbook wagering at the proposed casino. Also, the said council arranged a public hearing on the same subject at its upcoming meeting that will be held on October 17th, as it’s necessary by state law, 15 to 30 days prior to the election, according to Callaghan.
However, during May, the Council also validated a gaming ordinance for Rochester, which puts sites where the casino will be permitted and the parameters for it, involving a rule that a gaming hall “must be at least 20,000 square feet plus additional space for other operations.” However, the ordinance also says: “A casino location could be permitted in the city’s highway commercial zone, which includes routes 11 and 125, as well as the Granite Ridge zone.” On that note, Scott Tranchemontagne, a spokesman representing Carlin, commented: “We would build our charitable gaming center regardless of the vote on allowing a sportsbook in the city.” He also explained said: “Only the only the sportsbook aspect of the casino needs voter approval. Although we could be a potential location for a sportbook if it passes — the November vote is not related to our proposal. All that remains for the casino project to go ahead at the Lilac Mall is for the project to receive approval from the city Planning Board and other city permits.”
Obtaining approval for a smaller gaming facility:
“The same group that bought the Lilac Mall received approval for a smaller gaming facility a few years ago, prior to his election,” according to Callaghan. He added: “At the time we didn’t really have a gaming ordinance. Now we do. The company has been great to work with. They are being very cognizant of the tenants there now, working with them to stay or wanting to help them relocate.”
Relatedly, in a prepared statement, which recognized him as the CEO of Granite State Gaming and Hospitality, Carlin stated: “We are bullish on New Hampshire and excited for the opportunities to invest in charitable gaming to help raise significantly more funds for area nonprofits and revive charitable gaming in places that haven’t had it in a while, such as Rochester. We look forward to immersing ourselves in the Rochester community and working with state and local leaders to build charitable gaming operations that we expect will raise millions of dollars annually for New Hampshire nonprofit organizations, including $3 million in Rochester.”
Commenting on how the space will be secured for the charitable gaming casino, Michael Scala, Rochester’s Economic Development Director, said: “Only one of the mall’s stores, Jordan Family Eyecare, has decided to move. The gymnastics studio, a dance studio, Subway eatery and Papa Gino’s and other businesses in the mall all intend to remain. The plan calls for 22,000 square feet of gaming space. From what I have seen it looks like most of the facility will be where the old movie theater was, and in part of the former Kmart space. They are going for full-on approval in September. … They will make a lot of nice improvements to the parking lot and the mall. It is a great way to develop what has been sort of a stagnant mall. I think it will be a nice catalyst for bringing people in.”
In addition, when commenting on the money needed for the aforementioned casino project, Scalla said: “The developer will spend considerable money on the project. He is not cutting corners. I think this is going to end up being one of the nicest charitable organizations in the state. We are pleased that this group is willing to invest so much in Rochester. Gaming facilities by state law need must be connected to charitable organizations that are 501(c)(3) nonprofits. They can rotate between different organizations. This will not be insubstantial. I think some of these organizations can fund themselves for a year with that money, potentially $35,000 to $40,000.”