CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The odds don't look good for the latest effort to authorize a casino in New Hampshire, yet a quirky bill would give adults another way to gamble: children's bingo games.
Under current law, hotels and campgrounds can host separate bingo games for adults and kids. Republican Rep. James Webb, of Derry, wants to allow adults to join the children's games, with some restrictions.
Under a bill he presented to a state Senate committee Tuesday, anyone over age 18 would be allowed to play if they are supervising a child or children, but they would not be eligible to win prizes.
"It sounds worse than it is, but it's really not," said Webb, who was inspired by camping trips with his grandchildren. "I tried to write it as much as possible to make sure this is a children's game."
"Sometimes you'll see that adults will drop their kids off and leave. This will take care of that problem," he said. "I'd like to stay there and enjoy them having fun and enjoying bingo."
Brian Pinard, of Goffstown, said his children no longer are interested in bingo, but he wanted to advocate for relatives with small children.
"It's difficult to send a 6- or 7-year-old into a building to play bingo alone, unsupervised," he said.
The bill also would increase the maximum value of prizes from $2 to $5. After hearing from Webb and Pinard, the Ways and Means committee, without debate, voted to recommend that the full Senate pass the bill.
Meanwhile, a bill that would authorize a single casino in the state is stalled in the Senate. A similar bill that would have authorized two casinos passed the Senate last year, but it failed in the House, which has never gone for the idea.