New Hampshire Casinos and Gambling
New Hampshire is known for its scenic beauty and winter sports, and anyone who visits for these reasons isn’t likely to leave disappointed. The same can’t be said for their gambling scene, as “confusing” and “frustrating” are two words that could best be used to describe it. While the state does allow certain forms of gambling, other have inexplicably been outlawed or just faded away.
In this article, we’ll do our best to make sense of the state of New Hampshire casinos, racetracks, and lotteries. Our intention is to make you as informed as possible on the subject, although it’s hard to know when the state may once again decide to prohibit some popular form of gaming.
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Casinos in New Hampshire
There are no legal casinos in New Hampshire, which applies to both commercial establishments and those owned by Indian tribes. If you’re looking for casino games like poker, blackjack, and roulette, you can still find some examples at facilities that donate their money to local charities. Oddly enough, one of the primary spots is at Rockingham Park, the first racetrack in the New England area.
Pari Mutuel Racing in New Hampshire
At one point, New Hampshire offered harness racing, thoroughbred racing, and greyhound racing. Harness racing has since gone by the wayside, and greyhound raced was outlawed in 2010. Horseracing is still technically allowed, but the once-busy tracks have been shuttered due to conflicts with the state or a simple lack of business.
Off-track simulcasts still take place, allowing players to wager on harness, thoroughbred, and greyhound racing. Two examples are Rockingham Park and Seabrook Greyhound Park, and these facilities also provide poker and other casino-style table games that provide revenue for state charities.
Lottery in New Hampshire
While New Hampshire takes a hardline stance with several forms of gambling, they have no problem using the state lottery to increase their yearly revenue. In fact, their lottery started in 1964, making them the oldest state in America to offer such an activity.
The first lottery was approved by the state legislature in 1963, the result of repeated efforts from a single politician who had campaigned for over a decade. An election was held the following year to allow citizens to abolish the lottery, but an overwhelming majority of communities supported it.
During the early days of the lottery (or “sweepstakes”), tickets were often limited to liquor stores. In addition, results were determined by the outcome of thoroughbred races as opposed to the drawing of ping-pong balls. This has changed radically over the decades, and now tickets can be purchased in a wide variety of locations with drawings utilizing state-of-the-art methods to ensure fairness.
For each dollar spent on the state lottery, 26 cents is used to fund public education. Over $5 billion in sales and additional earnings have been generated since 1964, and more than $1.7 billion has been earmarked for education.
Scratch Cards – Available at convenience stores and other licensed retailers throughout the state, these cards only require players to scratch their surface to determine whether or not they’ve won. The following are the current scratch-off cards currently available in the state:
• $1 Scratch Games – Fast Cash, Shark, Red White & Blue Tripler, Match 3 Doubler, I Heart Bacon, Lucky 7, Quick 25s, Hit $50, Blackjack Bonus, Frosty Fun, Mustache Cash, Coal, High 5s, Hot Ones, Make My Day
• $2 Scratch Games – 5X the Money, Lucky 8s, $20,000 Taxes Paid, Triple Win, Lucky 13, Double-Up Dollars, Whole Lotta 100s, Double Your Money, Wild Cherry Tripler, Make My Week, Betty Boop
• $3 Scratch Games – Aces High, Money Puzzle, Super Joker Slingo, Spot Bingo, Money Puzzle Gold
• $5 Scratch Games – Fantastic 5s, Live Free, Stacks of Cash, 10X the Money, $500 a Week for Life, Escape to Margaritaville, Diamond 9, Money Tree, Ca$hword, $100,000 No Tax, Patriots
• $10 Scratch Games – Mega Fortune, Platinum Payout, Extreme Green, Double Triple, Make My Year, X, $1,000 a Week for Life, NH Limited, Caesars, Silver 7s
• $20 Scratch Games – Hot/Cool Millions, $2,000 a Week for Life
Draw Games – These lottery games offer the biggest payouts available to players. Drawings are held multiple times throughout the week, and you must be at least 18 years old in order to participate. The following draw games are available in the state:
• Powerball – Match 5 numbers to win a $1 million prize. Match 5 numbers and the powerball to win a progressive jackpot worth even more.
• Mega Millions – Match 5 numbers to win a $1 million jackpot. Match the 5 numbers and the megaball to win a jackpot that can exceed $100 million.
• Megabucks Plus – Match 5 numbers and win $30,000. If you match 5 numbers, as well as the Megaball, your winnings can increase to over $1 million.
• Lucky for Life – The top prize is $1,000 a day for life, while 2nd prize is $25,000 a year for life.
• Pick 3 & Pick 4 – Prizes on Pick 3 range from $5 to $500, while Pick 4 prizes range from $5 to $5,000.
• Hot Lotto – Matching 5 balls results in a $30,000 tax-free win. Selecting the sizzler option for an extra $1 results in a $90,000 payout. If the bonus ball is also hit, the player wins the progressive jackpot of $1 million or more.
• Fast Play – These gaming options play like scratch cards without all the annoying scratching. Top prizes range from $500 to $5,000.
• Gimme 5 – Drawings are held three times per week, with a top prize of $100,000 being offered.
If you’re a gambler living in New Hampshire, you might be better off driving to a neighboring state to indulge in games of chance. That’s because the Granite State provides little in the way of legal gambling, although online casinos are always an option. Their state lottery offers a wide range of opportunities, but some players simply can’t get the same level of satisfaction from a scratch-off ticket or televised drawing.