Proposal for Sportsbook Considered by Rochester, New Hampshire

Sports Betting: Rochester, N.H. City Council to Discuss Proposed Casino Sportsbook

Last Updated: August 1, 2023, 05:33h.

The Rochester, N.H. City Council is set to discuss a proposed sportsbook casino during their upcoming meeting. If approved, local residents will have the opportunity to vote on the proposal in November’s election.

Rochester, N.H. downtown
Rochester, N.H. downtown, pictured above. The city may ask voters to approve a proposed sportsbook. (Image: City of Rochester)

The upcoming meeting is the first step in the process. The City Council will need to approve the referendum by September, followed by a public hearing in October. If everything goes smoothly, the referendum will be on the November 7 ballot.

This week, Rochester Mayor Paul Callaghan expressed optimism, stating to New Hampshire’s Foster’s Daily Democrat that “there is a strong possibility we will decide to put this to our voters.”

However, even if the proposal is approved by voters, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission must also give their approval for Rochester to become a gaming site.

In a previous vote in 2019, Rochester residents defeated a casino/sportsbook proposal by a close margin of 1,488 to 1,439.

Local Restrictions

In June, the Rochester City Council passed an ordinance outlining the designated areas for a gaming operation within the community.

This includes a commercial zone near routes 11 and 125, known as the Granite Ridge zone. If the casino is to be located in The Ridge shopping plaza, a special permit will be required.

The gaming floor must be a minimum of 20,000 square feet, with parking requirements that include spaces for buses and at least 0.75 parking spaces per gaming position.

Additionally, at least 2% of the parking spaces must have electric vehicle charging stations, with a minimum of four stations available.

There are also requirements relating to outdoor entertainment noise, architecture, and landscaping.

According to Callaghan, all gaming facilities must be associated with a charitable gaming facility. He added, “The entire process is strictly regulated by the lottery commission so there is very good guidance.”

City officials have already met with Charlie McIntyre, the executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.

Other N.H. Locations

DraftKings sportsbooks and charitable gaming casinos are currently operating in other communities throughout New Hampshire, including Dover, Manchester, and Seabrook.

DraftKings sportsbooks can be found at the Brook casino in Seabrook, the Filotomo Casino and Restaurants at the Dover Bowl, as well as in Manchester.

All three current sportsbooks are located within casinos.

Maura McCann, spokesperson for the New Hampshire Lottery, mentioned that these locations were chosen because they already have established security and personnel to operate the facilities.

Under state law, New Hampshire can have a maximum of 10 sports wagering operations in charitable gaming casinos.

As of now, 16 towns and cities within the state have applied for sports betting operations, according to McCann.

In June, a new charitable casino in New Hampshire was approved by the local planning board after a thorough review. The casino is planned to be situated on the east side of Concord, the capital of the state.

However, concerns regarding crime and environmental impact have led to opposition against the casino. Local resident Kassey Cameron filed a legal appeal against the establishment.

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