Charitable Casino Plan for Empty Grocery Store Moves Forward in Conway, N.H.

The town of Conway is the latest community in New Hampshire to approve a building permit for a charitable casino. The permit was approved last month, the Conway Daily Sun, a local newspaper, reported this week.

The former town hall in Conway, N.H.
The former town hall in Conway, N.H.
The former town hall in Conway, N.H., pictured above. The scenic town recently gave a building permit to place a charitable casino in a former grocery store. (Image: Conway Daily Sun)

The local permit is required to place a gambling venue at the planned location: a former grocery store called Shurfine.

The permit allows A.W. Rose Construction of Manchester, N.H. to “renovate the former grocery store and adjoining suite into (a) sports pub with charitable gaming,” the report said.

Last November, Shurfine Plaza was purchased for about $5 million by Manchester, N.H. developer Dick Anagnost. He is manager of New Hampshire’s A.W. Rose Realty.

In 2019, he was given a charitable casino license from the New Hampshire Lottery Commission for the Conway site. The business is called in a deed, “Conway Poker Room and Casino, LLC.,” the report said.

Developer Runs Four Casinos

Anagnost currently runs charitable casinos in the New Hampshire towns of Keene, Manchester, Dover, and Lebanon. The operations raised $3,876,284 for New Hampshire non-profits in 2022, the Sun said.

Under state law, a charitable casino must donate 35% of proceeds to charitable nonprofits under New Hampshire requirements.

“The business can only open if it has a charitable organization each night that is vetted by the state Attorney General’s office as a nonprofit 501 (3)-c,” John Eastman, Conway town manager, told the Sun.

The plan would be to be open three to four nights a week and each night to have a charitable operation they are gaming for.”

There is a limit on what games are offered at the casino. In New Hampshire, local voters must approve sports betting or keno operations. Such forms of gambling were rejected in previous Conway town meetings four times.

In 2021, Anagnost said he wanted to open a Greek restaurant that included a sports bar and charitable gaming in the 12,000-square-foot space, the Sun said.

But the new building permit does not mention anything about a Greek restaurant, the report added. This week, a spokesperson for the project, said some kind of restaurant is proposed as part of the project.

Also involved in the project to open the casino is Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, the Sun reported. It is a Los Angeles-based gaming company.

The Conway Board of Selectmen will discuss the casino on February 21. Conway is located near the Maine-New Hampshire border.

Other Casino Projects

Other New Hampshire communities are also considering charitable casino proposals. In Lebanon, a gaming property was proposed at the site formerly housing Gerrish Honda.

The gaming floor would have 111 electronic gaming devices and 90 gaming tables, according to the proposal.

As envisioned, it would include 17,335-square feet on the first floor. There also would be a 1,360-square-foot mezzanine.

A new charitable casino in Concord, N.H. was given conditional approval last month. The town’s Planning Board conditionally approved the project’s initial phase. That includes a 24,000-square-foot gaming room, and an 8,500-square-foot restaurant and brewpub.

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