Another View -- Nicolette B. Clarke, Patricia Lynch, Alec Doyle, and Heather Clow: Casinos will devastate NH's non-profit performing-arts centers
Over the last 20 years, the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, The Music Hall in Portsmouth, the Colonial Theatre in Keene, and the Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon all were lovingly restored with contributions from hundreds of individuals and businesses and thousands of community volunteers. Annually, approximately 285,000 people come through the doors of these theaters to enjoy a show, community event, business meeting or reception. All of these organizations have breathed new energy into their communities, restaurants and downtown businesses. Unfortunately, all four of these wonderful venues across the state face a critical threat from resort casinos and their performance venues.
What's the threat? First, studies in other states have shown that discretionary spending will shift from existing amusement and entertainment entities to casinos if casinos are introduced into the state. This is likely to result in the loss of 7 to 15 percent of annual revenues for existing theaters in New Hampshire.
Second, performing arts centers will lose their top headline performers to casinos - performers such as B.B. King, Bill Cosby, Lewis Black, Sarah McLachlan and Willie Nelson, to name a few. Our colleagues in nearby states have provided ample evidence that casinos operate with 100-mile radius exclusion clauses in their artist contracts. Limiting the talent pool puts additional pressure on theaters in New Hampshire that work on the thinnest of margins. It also will restrict where citizens can enjoy big-name artists.
In addition, resort casinos like those already operating in Connecticut pay above-market rates for performers and charge less for tickets. They regularly give away free incentives, including theatre tickets, hotel rooms and meals in excess of 10 percent of their annual gaming revenue. The casino isn't selling tickets to pay for the show; it's giving away free tickets so people will come and gamble. There is no way for nonprofit arts presenters to compete with the casino industry. The deck is definitely stacked in the casino industry's favor.
The network of New Hampshire nonprofit performing arts centers that has developed over the last 20 years or so operates with a philosophy that a thriving cultural community benefits all, and though there is some healthy competition among individual organizations, we work cooperatively through a network service organization to facilitate tours and share ideas that results in exciting and diverse programming for New Hampshire audiences.
The gambling industry has the potential to dismantle a significant segment of the state's cultural life. Thousands of individuals have invested time and money to bring performing arts venues back to life for the benefit of citizens across the state. Negative impacts on community life make casinos a bad bet for New Hampshire.
Nicolette B. Clarke is executive director of the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord. Patricia Lynch is executive director of The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Alec Doyle is executive director of the Colonial Theatre in Keene. Heather Clow is executive director of the Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon.
READER COMMENTS: 1
- David Harsanyi: The senators who really threaten America - 1
- Your Turn, NH -- Ted Menswar Jr.: How Manchester pulled together to honor one of its greats - 1
- Jonah Goldberg: Is the Islamic State really un-Islamic? - 1
- George Will: Scotland's epic vote - 1
- Charles Krauthammer: Obama's uncertain trumpet, again - 0
- Maureen McDonald: Ray Rice and the everyday problem of domestic violence - 1
- Another View -- Jason Bedrick: An important court victory for parents and taxpayers - 3
- Thomas Sowell: Mob rule economics is bad for everyone - 8
- George Will: Eviscerating the 1st Amendment is extremism - 5
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Gunman hits Circle K convenience store in Durham - 0
- Bella, a chihuahua mix, is still missing in Auburn - 0
- Nashua man charged in domestic knife threat - 0
- Manchester man detained on Nashua rape charges involving child - 0
- Pair accused in Hampstead home invasion also face witness tampering charges - 0
- Suicide car bomber kills 3 foreign troops in Afghan capital; Taliban claims responsibility - 0
- City officials to review proposed 'spice' ban - 0
- Widow of chiropractor killed this summer says fatal shooting was no accident - 1
- Manchester's Delana Curtis is left out in the cold - 0
DWI license revocations
Mexican man pleads guilty in international conspiracy to traffic hundreds of pounds of cocaine
Attorney claims illegal phone seizure following Christmas Eve accident that killed Brookline mom
Another View -- Sharon Day: The Democrats' claim to be the party for women is just not believable
Seabrook mom pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to attempted murder of her two children
Alleged accomplice in brutal Bedford home invasion, attack on doctor and wife, says his testimony was coerced
Man accused of raping 13-year old in Nashua