Ex-Senator Sanborn Accused of Withholding Profits from New Hampshire Charitable Casino

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Andy Sanborn, the beleaguered co-owner of Concord Casino in New Hampshire, is alleged to have been withholding a larger proportion of profits compared to other charitable casinos throughout the state, as per recent news disclosures. It’s been discovered that Sanborn, also the state’s ex-senator, hasn’t been allotting the same percentage of earnings to nonprofits as other local charitable casinos under scrutiny.

Tradition dictates that charitable casinos are obligated to contribute 35% of their proceeds to approved local nonprofits. Nevertheless, an investigative probe undertaken by New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) divulged that Concord Casino, under Sanborn’s stewardship, distributes merely 17.5% of its proceeds.

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The source of this allocation disparity is rooted in a time when entities hosting gaming events were authorized to impose charges known as “rents,” effectively the property’s fair rent value for any usage. The concept of rent is pegged to the casino’s overheads needed to offset costs, encompassing such necessities as staffing, leasing space, supplies, and utilities.

Sanborn extracts a daily rent of $750, which is notably higher compared to Nashua’s Gate City Casino’s daily charge of $250. Regardless of these discrepancies, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission ratified Concord Casino’s stipulated percentage contribution.

The commission has refrained from taking action due to considerations that punitive measures might ultimately lead to reduced revenue for the beneficiary charities.

However, Sanborn’s future in the casino industry is questionable, with his operation license in jeopardy. Investigations by both state and federal bodies have brought to light allegations of Sanborn misapplying portions of $844,000 in COVID-relief loans for personal indulgences, including the procurement of luxury sports cars.

A further claim implicates Sanborn in furnishing inaccurate information on his federal loan application and deliberately bypassing any mention of the casino. This is a direct violation, as such financial relief was not intended for casinos.

State and federal inspections may now lead to charges and administrative consequences. In response to the accusations, Sanborn has maintained his innocence and welcomes this investigation, confident of his full compliance to laws and regulations.

Also drawn into the controversy is Sanborn’s wife, state Rep. Laurie Sanborn, who had to abdicate her position as chair of the state panel on charitable casinos.

The Concord Casino, situated within The Draft Sports Bar and Grill, has plans to inaugurate an expansive 43,000-square-foot charitable casino at another location in Concord. Despite approval from the city’s Planning Board, this proposal is presently embroiled in legal controversy.

The ensuing episode has initiated calls for a review of existing regulations governing charitable casinos. Amongst those advocating for this review is Pat Abrami, ex-New Hampshire Representative and present member of the commission responsible for assessing these rules.