Gaming official woos public in Rochester with plan for slot machines

ROCHESTER — A Millennium Gaming executive showed his hand to the public Wednesday night when he openly discussed a proposal to build a casino with 5,000 slot machines at Rockingham Park in Salem.

Millennium Gaming executive Bill Wortman owns and operates casinos in Las Vegas and Pennsylvania and would like to expand his business into New Hampshire, if legislation is passed to expand gambling. At a public meeting organized by Sen. Jackie Cilley, D-Barrington, Wednesday night, he laid out his proposal and defended gambling from what detractors point to as its more unsavory aspects.

Robert Gates, president of the Rochester Concerned Taxpayers Association, attended and openly questioned the theory that casino revenues would lower his property tax bill.

Gates also opined that, aside from the other perceived unsavory aspects of gambling, “the allure of riches” might also lead people to gamble away disposable income instead of contributing to philanthropic efforts. Gates is on the board of advisers for the local Salvation Army.

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Perhaps there were not many opponents there because NH residents had little notice of this meeting.
The article further stated that “The University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute will organize small group discussions on this issue in 11 communities on February 13. Rochester and Portsmouth will both host such gatherings. The results of the discussions will go to the Gov. John Lynch’s Study Commission on Expanded Gaming.”