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Garry Rayno's State House Dome: Charitable gaming on the table
Charitable gaming has been around for a long time, but in the last decade, it has grown by leaps and bounds.
Charities benefit to the tune of more than $13 million a year from table games, Lucky 7s and bingo, according to information supplied by the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission to the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority last fall.
By law, charities have to receive 35 percent of net earnings from the gaming halls, but many do not because the game operators charge fees for such things as paperwork and hall rental.
The bill, sponsored by authority members Reps. Richard Ames, D-Jaffrey, and Lucy Weber, D-Walpole, and Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, addresses many of the issues raised by Williamson, including background and criminal records checks for charitable gaming operators, site owners and senior staff.
The bill also deals with what are called "gray machines" - video lottery or poker machines that the state does not regulate but the cities and towns do, which essentially means no one is watching.
Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission officials told the authority they had no way to determine how much money was being bet through the unregulated machines.
Oversight of the industry has bounced around state agencies for a while and has often been a political football.
House Bill 1630 would also establish a commission to study the situation, draft legislation and regulations, and finalize a report by December 2015 to get a better handle on charitable gaming.
The same folks are not likely to embrace the new bill and all the changes proposed.
The committee voted last year, 6-0, to open a preliminary investigation after Rep. Rick Watrous, D-Concord, filed a complaint alleging Bragdon violated both legislative ethics guidelines and state law in taking the $180,000-a-year position with what is now HealthTrust.
Following Granny: Last week, activists began a trek from Dixville Notch, where voters typically gather to cast the first ballots of presidential primary and general elections, to Nashua to highlight concerns about corruption in Washington.
Dubbed the NH Rebellion, the group's goal is to recruit residents to ask one question of all 2016 presidential candidates: "How will you end the system of corruption in Washington?"
Who Has the Bucks?: The Republican primary to fill the District 1 Executive Council seat, vacant since the death of longtime Councilor Ray Burton last year, will be held Tuesday.
Two of the candidates have significantly more money to fuel their get-out-the-vote efforts, according to receipt and expenditure reports filed with Secretary of State Bill Gardner's office Wednesday.
Kenney raised $20,850 in the past two weeks, including a $20,000 loan to his campaign, for a total of $40,910. His campaign spent $10,071, leaving cash of $30,839.
Democrat Michael Cryans of Hanover, who does not have a primary, raised $32,042 during the past two weeks, for a total of $50,152. His campaign has spent $2,063, leaving $48,089 in cash on hand.
The special election for the District 1 seat is town meeting day, March 11.
Goodbye Stretch: The House on Wednesday will honor former Rep. Richard "Stretch" Kennedy, a Hopkinton Republican, who died last week at the age of 80.
He was gruff and could frame an issue in a very uncharitable manner.
But underneath, he was a kind and generous man who liked to remind me his family used to own a string of weekly newspapers from Connecticut to Maine.
But he counted liberal Democrats among his friends in the House and was very pragmatic.
You couldn't fool Stretch.
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