Posted on: August 3, 2023, 12:43h.
Last updated on: August 3, 2023, 12:43h.
Rochester, New Hampshire City Council is making progress towards bringing a sportsbook to the city, with plans for a charitable casino also in the works at a local mall.
The City Council has unanimously agreed to include the sportsbook proposal in a November 7 referendum, allowing residents to vote on its approval or rejection.
A public hearing on the matter will be held on October 17.
The plan for a charitable casino at Rochester’s Lilac Mall remains unchanged, regardless of the outcome of the sportsbook referendum.
“We would build our charitable gaming center regardless of the vote on allowing a sportsbook in the city,” said Scott Tranchemontagne, a representative of GSG Rochester Propco LLC, the holding company that owns the mall.
The mall was acquired on May 4 for $5M.
“Although we could be a potential location for a sportbook if it passes — the November vote is not related to our proposal,” Tranchemontagne explained.
The planned casino would occupy 22,000 square feet of space within the 200,000-square-foot Lilac Mall, taking up the former movie theater and part of a former Kmart.
Most of the current tenants in the mall intend to remain despite the casino proposal, including a gymnastics studio, a dance studio, and two eateries.
The proposal for the Lilac Mall casino is pending approval from Rochester’s Planning Board and will be discussed on September 11.
“We look forward to working with state and local leaders to build charitable gaming operations that will raise millions of dollars annually for New Hampshire nonprofit organizations, including $3 million in Rochester,” said Greg Carlin, Principal of New England Gaming and Consulting LLC.
Carlin is also the CEO of “Granite State Gaming and Hospitality,” according to reports.
New England Gaming currently holds one of the 11 licenses available in New Hampshire for charitable casinos, according to Rochester Mayor Paul Callaghan.
Rochester previously voted on a casino/sportsbook proposal in 2019, which was ultimately defeated by a close margin.
However, a new ordinance has since been approved by the City Council, outlining the location and other details for such gaming operations.
The ordinance designates a commercial zone near routes 11 and 125, or the Granite Ridge zone, as a potential location. A special permit would be required if it were to be located in The Ridge shopping plaza.
The gaming floor would need to be at least 20,000 square feet, with parking requirements including spaces for buses and at least 0.75 parking spaces per gaming position.
Furthermore, at least 2% of the parking spaces must have electric vehicle charging stations, with a minimum of four required. There are also specific requirements for outdoor entertainment noise, architecture, and landscaping.