What Are New Hampshire’s Casino Laws?

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Lots of us occasionally like to gamble, whether it’s via the online casino at betsafe.com or at a land-based casino. The thrill of the wheel, the tactics of table games, the lure of the jackpot – it all combines to make gambling an exciting pastime.
But with the internet making casinos all over the world more accessible than ever, how can you be sure that you’re not breaking any laws by indulging your love of gambling online?
This article will explain what the casino laws are in New Hampshire. From lotteries to legal poker games, you’ll learn which forms of gambling are currently allowed – and which you should definitely save for your next trip to Las Vegas.

When did New Hampshire legalize gambling?

New Hampshire was actually ahead of the game when it came to legalizing any forms of gambling. As the first state to legalize a state lottery in 1963 – even beating Nevada! – it sparked hopes that its casino laws would be more liberal than those of other states.
New Hampshire had already legalized pari-mutuel betting in the 1930s (this is also known as pool betting, where players place bets against each other as opposed to a dealer). This covered greyhound and horseracing – but has since declined to such an extent that live greyhound racing stopped completely in 2013.

What are the current casino laws in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire failed to live up to the hopes it raised by legalizing a lottery. In fact, its casino laws are some of the most restrictive in America.
The law states that all games of chance are illegal, with gambling defined in state legislature as “to risk something of value upon a future contingent even not under one’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that something of value will be received in the event of a certain outcome.”
The forms of gambling that are currently legal in New Hampshire are:

  •         The state lottery, which you can enter online or by purchasing tickets from 1,250 retail stores
  •         Betting on horseracing (the Rockingham Park track in Salem is the only horse racing facility left in New Hampshire)
  •         Charity bingo games, raffles, or poker tournaments

Charity poker rooms are sometimes referred to as casinos, but these are the only legal casinos in the state. Players may join poker games with a maximum buy-in of $150, and the charities must retain at least 35% of the money generated during the game.
This ensures that you can enjoy gambling whilst benefitting good causes at the same time. It even provides a great use for the now disused racetracks, many of which form the setting of charity poker tournaments.
You must be 18 to enter the lottery and 21 to play charity poker games.

What about online casinos?

Although online casinos aren’t explicitly regulated by the law, they pretty obviously fall under the banner of illegal gambling (online slots are perhaps the ultimate ‘game of chance’).
The good news is that the nearby states of New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts all have more relaxed gambling laws, so you can visit casinos (both online and off) whilst you’re there.
And with various governors starting to propose more liberal casino laws, perhaps it’s only a matter of time before we’re able to play in our home state. 

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