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Nov 4, 2016 5:12 PM

Gambling expands in NH with new Nashua casino


NASHUA — Casinos have been routinely rejected by New Hampshire lawmakers, but gambling is still growing in the Granite State as a casino facility opens in Nashua.

Boston Billiard Club on Northeastern Boulevard in Nashua is now Boston Billiard Club & Casino, expanding to include 15 poker tables, five roulette pits, blackjack and more.

The casino had a "soft opening" on Friday, ahead of it's grand opening celebration planned for next Thursday.

READ: Boston Billiard Club to unveil new casino in Nashua grand opening

Casino operations manager of the facility Jeffrey Smith said the owner of the former pool hall has had a license for some time and saw a rare opportunity to open a new operation in southern New Hampshire.

"With the closing of Rockingham in August, it was a really big opportunity to take forth a gambling operation here," Smith said.

The casino is licensed and regulated by the state's Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission, just like Rockingham Park was and all other card rooms in the state still are.

These kinds of facilities are all charitable gaming institutions, meaning a large part of their revenues get donated to state charities.

There are currently ten such licensed institutions throughout the state. Fifty-five percent of the revenue generated by these facilities go to operating and management costs, another 10 percent is paid back to the state, and the remaining 35 percent is what gets donated to local charities.

Players are also limited in how much they can bet. Any single bet is limited to $4. Poker is a bit more complicated, with a $5 cap per hand, and each player cannot put more than $500 into the pot.

However, players keep their winnings.

"If you win a hand or hit a spin of roulette, that's your money," Smith explained. "We're taking out of what we pull, and the players take home one hundred percent of their money."

Smith also said the casino plans to focus on giving back to city charities, choosing as many based in Nashua as they can.

The first of those is the Boys and Girls Club of Nashua, which will get proceeds from the casino's first ten days of operation.

"It's the biggest charity in Nashua," Smith said. "That was the one that we really wanted to come out of a bang with, and they're really excited to be a part of it."

Smith added the recipient charities have been chosen through March and April 2017, though they are still accepting and reviewing applications to plan beyond that.

Interested charities can visit the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission's website for more information.

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