When it comes to big policy decisions in many states, the Senate and House leaders often tell their members how to vote. That’s why it was good to see rank-and-file members in the House of Representatives in New Hampshire rise up and vote against a measure to legalize casinos.
The bill had bipartisan support of the legislative leaders, thanks to some major influence peddling by the casino lobbyists. A close vote was expected. But the House rank-and-file handily defeated the measure 195-154.
The House members understood the bill would essentially give a lucrative monopoly to four private businesses without any required investment or time line for when the casinos would be built. State lawmakers also understood that extracting wealth from residents is a bad way to fund the government. Likewise, Gov. John Lynch was rightly opposed to casinos.
To its credit, the majority of New Hampshire lawmakers did not fall for the argument made in so many other states regarding the need to legalize casinos in order to keep residents from traveling across state lines to gambling. The wrongheaded move by Massachusetts to legalize casinos prompted some to say New Hampshire need to do the same.
To its credit, New Hampshire took the time to study the impact of casinos on the state. The state didn’t just weigh the benefits but also looked at the costs. The findings made it clear that casinos were more trouble than they were worth. That’s a win for good government.