cean Gaming Casino in Hampton Beach announced Thursday it is looking to expand from its second-floor charitable gaming room into the former ice cream shop located downstairs, bringing more games as well as the addition of historic horse racing.
As reported by SeaCoastOnline, owner Anthony Fusco said the project is still going through the approval process with the town. Provided it is greenlit, the expansion is expected to start construction this winter.
The ice cream shop is adjacent to the downstairs gaming room Fusco added to Ocean Gaming three years ago. The plan is for the wall separating the old ice cream space to be replaced with open space and cages where people can redeem their chips and vouchers. Ocean Gaming offers table games such as blackjack, roulette and craps, as well as Lucky 7 ticket dispensers. The new space will also feature bingo.
The addition of historic horse racing comes after the approval of the game by the Legislature in June to be added to charitable gaming rooms in New Hampshire. The game has players bet on footage of races that have already occurred, with key transformations kept from players so they do not know the outcome.
It will be the first electronic gaming to be introduced in New Hampshire, according to Rick Newman, a lobbyist who works on gaming issues in the state. He said lawmakers were convinced this year that more gambling customers would choose New Hampshire’s charitable gaming rooms over casinos in other states if they offered an electronic gaming option.
New Hampshire only allows gambling in the form of charitable gaming, which requires 35% of proceeds go to local charities. Fusco said Ocean Gaming has produced $4.2 million in donations to charities in its 10-year existence at Hampton Beach. One charity, the American Legion Post 35 in Hampton, received nearly $50,000 over the last year from Ocean Gaming.
Post 35 Commander Berkley Bennett said the money is used for local school scholarships and awards. “It also helps keep the lights on for us at the post,” Bennett said.