Every year, SkiNH tallies how much people spent visiting New Hampshire ski resorts and the subsequent economic impact. Last season’s total, per SkiNH, was $359 million in direct expenditures by skiers and their families and friends, and another $786.5 million in secondary spending. Combined, it was a record year. Now imagine the impact of several resort casinos that would intercept and divert recreational tourists before they reach most New Hampshire ski resorts.
Though casinos would draw a lot of people who would never ski, they also would divert entertainment and recreational dollars from other New Hampshire venues, such as ski resorts, theaters, concert halls and restaurants. Resort casinos are not like the small bingo parlors and poker rooms New Hampshire already has. They are entertainment destinations designed to attract non-gamblers and their money. Those people will reduce spending at existing New Hampshire recreational venues so they can visit the casinos.
This is why the Verizon Wireless Arena and smaller concert venues oppose casino gambling. It will kill some New Hampshire businesses and weaken others. In the process, it will change the state forever and for the worse.
New Hampshire is a great place to live, work and raise a family. Casino supporters say that if we like our ski resorts and small concert halls and low crime rate, we can keep them. Don’t believe it. If the casinos come, a great deal will change.