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New Hampshire Government to Offer Internet Gambling

June 28, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – Yet another American state is taking a stab at regulating online gambling to help make economic ends meet. New Hampshire is reportedly launching a new Internet gambling lottery system this week, “a move seen by some as an expansion of the kind of gambling that state lawmakers oppose,” according to the Associated Press (via the Los Angeles Times).

The new Internet games, called PlayNowNH and scheduled to go on sale this Thursday, July 1, are technically an extension of the state’s lottery system. But they also offer a variety of games commonly associated with more traditional online casinos, such as slot gaming, “speed bingo” and “New Hampshire poker”. There’s also a baseball-themed gambling game on offer.

“For example, players can buy chances for the $1 baseball game on one ticket or a separate ticket with chances for the $5 poker game,” the AP article explains. “They can buy tickets with total chances per game worth up to $100 and play on their home computers, using a 30-digit access code.”

Interestingly, a marketing director for the state’s gaming system has said it was inspired, at least partially, on the similar online gaming system in place in British Columbia.

It’s interesting to see a state move forward so quickly with an Internet gambling measure that would generate a tidal wave of controversy in other states — witness North Carolina’s recent controversy over Internet sweepstakes that’s seen politicians taking quick action in congress to forbid the new games.

Furthermore, the new games weren’t submitted to the Congress for approval, but simply announced by the state’s Lottery Commission. This is being criticized by some lawmakers and may conceivably inspire a legislative attempt to halt the new Internet games.

It gets weirder: While a Democrat, Senate Finance Chairman Lou D’Allesandro, is criticizing the new games, a Republican, State Representative David Hess, is voicing approval, stating: “I don’t think it’s anywhere close to casino gambling or a harbinger of casino gambling.”