New Hampshire Casinos, Gambling, and Law Regulations: An Overview

Even though it is one of the first states in the US to legalize lottery in 1964, the New Hampshire gambling arena has not incorporated any significant changes in the last several years. In fact, the Granite State seems to have some of the most restrictive laws in the country.

Gambling was introduced in New Hampshire in 1933, starting with the horse race wagering. At that point in time, greyhound racing had also been allowed; however, in 2010, someone decided it should not be anymore, and the activity was cut off. Yet, the horse race betting remained, and it’s even available for off-track use.

Not even tribal gambling is allowed in New Hampshire, let alone the standard brick-and-mortar commercial casinos. The only option for gambling in New Hampshire lies in the several land-based establishments that are known as self-proclaimed casinos and offer games like poker, roulette, blackjack, and craps.

These games became legal in 1977 and had to be attached to a charity organization. The state officials set a maximum poker bet limit of $1. Then, in 1998, the limit was raised to $2, and then to $4 in 2008. Finally, the year in which the maximum bet regulations were taken from the books was 2015.

The state officials have at least made some effort in legalizing internet gambling, so New Hampshire sports betting saw the light of the day in July 2019. However, online will be the only way in which you can bet on sports, as the state gave the green light to mobile sports betting through the DraftKings Sportsbook app, but hasn’t opened the retail locations yet.

In case you were wondering what you can and cannot do regarding gambling in New Hampshire, this is the text for you, as it offers information on both land-based and online gambling opportunities and laws.

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Gambling Laws in New Hampshire — The Law Overview

The law that regulates gambling activities in New Hampshire states that all games of chance are illegal if they are not a part of the state lottery or an officially registered charity. The majority of gambling crimes are seen as misdemeanors, but operating a major gaming establishment is considered a Class B felony. A fine of up to $1,200 will wait for anyone engaging in gambling activities.

Furthermore, in New Hampshire, even lending money to someone for gambling purposes is considered a Class B misdemeanor.

To be precise, New Hampshire defines gambling as: “risking something of value upon a future contingent not under one’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that something of value will be received in the event of a certain outcome.”

 Therefore, all games of chance easily fall under this category and make it impossible to gamble unless you are willing to risk being prosecuted.

In recent years, the only thing that changed was the introduction of sports wagering that can be done online. There was an attempt to finally do something with gambling in New Hampshire in 2013 when the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority got an assignment by the House and Senate to analyze and restructure the activity in the state.

However, when the Authority came forth with the HB 1633 in 2013 that was supposed to incorporate a regulatory structure and the authorization for a 5,000-slot casino, the House said no to it. Additionally, the House denied all other suggestions regarding gambling expansion in New Hampshire, which left the impression that the state doesn’t really want to make any particular changes about it.

Another bill, SB 113, was proposed in 2015, with a goal to authorize two casinos in New Hampshire, but it shared the same destiny as the HB 1633. The only bill that was accepted and signed in 2015 was HB 169 that regulated limiting maximum bets in poker and other rare games of chance legally offered by the state.

What Forms of Gambling Are Allowed in New Hampshire?

There are several forms of gambling that remained legal in New Hampshire. One of them is horse racing that dates back to 1933. Unfortunately, greyhound racing was forbidden in 2010 and cannot be wagered on anymore in this state.

The state lottery is still in the picture and offers tickets both via retailers and online. When it comes to the lottery, New Hampshire provides ticket issuing terminals that can be used to buy your lucky piece of paper. You can take part in state-only and interstate lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions.

Unfortunately for many, casinos are not a part of New Hampshire law at all. Neither commercial land-based casinos nor the tribal ones can be found in the state. There are replacements, though, that call themselves casinos but actually operate as poker rooms. These establishments must be owned and run by legitimate state charities.

If you are interested in operating charity games, have in mind that you won’t be able to do it for free, as every charity owner must pay a tax to the state. The first one is a $500 game operator fee, then there is a $250 facility licensing fee, and, finally, a tax of $25 per game.

These charities offer games such as roulette, blackjack, poker, and craps. For poker games, the limit was set from day one. It was very low at the beginning and set to $1 only, which was later raised to $2. Then, since 2015, charities have set a $150 maximum bet limit.

Although there is not much gambling going on in New Hampshire, one would be surprised that the state urged to legalize online sports betting. What is more, the land-based retailers are planned to start doing business in a few months, while online sports wagers can be placed now through officially legal sportsbooks like DraftKings.

Another option for the residents of New Hampshire is to bet on horse racing without having to be physically present at a racetrack.

Other than that, there is nothing explicitly declared in the New Hampshire gambling laws regarding online casinos. The state’s Criminal Code fails to include internet gambling into its legal parameters, but it doesn’t say that it is excluded either. There are no familiar cases when anyone has been arrested in the Granite State for placing a bet online. Due to this grey area in which New Hampshire happens to be, thousands of people choose to gamble online in offshore casinos.

At the moment, bettors in New Hampshire who are into online gambling have the option to try their luck in one of the several offshore sites that are more than interested in serving the American market.

Where to Gamble in New Hampshire?

The River Casino & Sports Bar

If you visit this gaming establishment from Monday to Thursday between 3 PM and 1 AM, or on

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from Noon to 1 AM, you will have the opportunity to enjoy playing many regular casino games such as roulette, New Hampshire Hold ‘Em, blackjack, Spanish 21, let it ride, and the Big 6 money wheel.

Of course, there is also poker available, in the form of no-limit cash Texas Hold’em poker and tournament Texas Hold’em poker. Although it is nor considered a regular land-based casino and does not offer accommodation, it has a wide selection of drinks and some dining options as well. Find it at 53 High Street, Nashua, NH 03060.

Chasers Poker Room and Casino

If you find yourself anywhere around 7 Veterans Memorial Pkwy, Salem, NH 03079 from 12 PM to 1 AM, do not miss the opportunity to take a break and visit Chasers Poker Room and Casino. To be absolutely certain you will have a spot once you reach the place, you can call and reserve your place in advance. Also, Chaser developed the Poker Atlas App that enables you to take a look at the ongoing games and join the waiting list online without making any calls. The app will also serve as navigation so that you can get there without any trouble.

Boston Billiard Club & Casino

This establishment offers several different games. You will find dice games like craps and sick bo, and some of the most popular table games, including poker and roulette. Boston Billiard Club & Casino offers drinks of many kinds and palate-pleasing food. In case you get bored of all the games, you can relax by playing pool on one of twenty tables available. To find this place, check the directions for 55 Northeastern Blvd, Nashua, NH. It is open every day from 12 PM to 1 AM.

FAQ

Are casinos legal in New Hampshire?

There are no official casinos in New Hampshire. The state allows neither commercial nor tribal casinos. The only gambling establishments that call themselves casinos are legal poker rooms.

 Is online gambling legal in New Hampshire?

In 2019, New Hampshire allowed online sports betting that can be done via legal sportsbooks. Other than that, there is an option to bet on horse racing from the comfort of your home.

 What games can you gamble on in New Hampshire?

At the moment, you can buy lottery tickets, bet on horse races, or enjoy playing some table games in one of the legal poker rooms in New Hampshire. Also, the state has recently approved sports betting that can be done online.

 What is the legal gambling age for players in New Hampshire?

The minimum gambling age is 18 for lottery and bingo, and 21 for racing, casino games, and poker.

Is greyhound betting legal in New Hampshire?

No, greyhound betting was banned in 2010 and has remained so ever since.