New Hampshire casino has license suspended

In a significant development, former state Sen. Andy Sanborn’s charitable gaming license for Concord Casino in New Hampshire has been suspended for six months. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission has also mandated the sale of the casino to an approved owner within this timeframe. Failure to comply could result in a two-year revocation of the license, posing substantial challenges for Sanborn in selling the business. The suspension comes in the wake of allegations that Sanborn and his wife, Rep. Laurie Sanborn, misrepresented their charitable gaming business in a pandemic assistance loan application and misused the funds.

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Concord Casino license suspended

Concord Casino license suspended | Allegations of COVID Relief Fund Misuse

The allegations surrounding Andy Sanborn’s purported misuse of COVID relief funds have unfolded into a complex web of financial discrepancies, raising eyebrows and prompting a comprehensive investigation into the intricate details of his financial dealings. The accusations center on Sanborn allegedly exceeding $800,000 in the misappropriation of pandemic assistance funds, with a substantial portion purportedly directed towards luxury car purchases and other financial irregularities.

The New Hampshire Attorney General and the Lottery Commission, recognizing the gravity of the allegations, initiated a thorough investigation into the intricate layers of Sanborn’s financial transactions. The primary focus of this inquiry is to meticulously scrutinize the application process for the pandemic assistance loan, unraveling the intricate threads of how the funds were acquired, allocated, and ultimately utilized by Sanborn and his associates.

Luxury car purchases, a significant component of the alleged fund misuse, have raised significant concerns. The investigation seeks to ascertain the legitimacy of these transactions, shedding light on the decision-making process that led to the acquisition of three race cars, two Porsches, and a Ferrari, collectively valued at $181,250. Unraveling the motivations behind such purchases is pivotal to understanding the broader context of Sanborn’s financial decisions and establishing accountability for the purported misuse of relief funds.

Concord Casino license suspended | License Suspension and Sale Mandate

The Department of Safety hearing officer, Michael King, issued a ruling ordering the suspension of Sanborn’s charitable gaming license for Concord Casino. The suspension requires Sanborn to cease gaming at the casino by the expiration of his existing license, which is Monday. King justified the decision by citing evidence that the Sanborns had misrepresented their gaming business when applying for an $844,000 pandemic assistance loan.

Challenges to the License Revocation

Sanborn’s attorneys had previously challenged the state Lottery Commission’s initial ruling of an “indefinite” license revocation, accusing the state of conducting a “sloppy” investigation. The investigation revealed that the Sanborns intentionally omitted the casino’s trade name, Concord Casino, on their loan application to enhance their chances of securing funding.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Ineligibility

The investigation also highlighted that casinos were not eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which carry a 30-year term at a 3.75% fixed interest rate. King found that the Sanborns intentionally provided inaccurate information on their application, listing their business as “miscellaneous services” instead of a “charity gaming facility” and failing to adhere to the requirement of buying American-made products.

Consultant’s Caution and Lease Increase

A consultant hired by the Sanborns, Michael Evans, expressed concerns about the casino’s eligibility for the loan but later described it as a “charity consulting company.” The consultant cautioned against revealing Laurie Sanborn’s elected office in the loan application. King noted that although records showed an increase in rent from $6,000 to $240,000 a year, there was insufficient evidence to support the diversion of loan money to Mr. Sanborn.

Criminal Investigation and Resignation

The cloud of a criminal investigation looms over Andy and Laurie Sanborn, stemming from their alleged misuse of funds obtained through the pandemic assistance loan. The inquiry, led by the New Hampshire Attorney General, has delved into intricate details surrounding the application process and subsequent financial transactions, exceeding $800,000. As federal investigators reportedly join the examination, the legal complexities surrounding the case only intensify. Laurie Sanborn’s involvement took a consequential turn, prompting her to make a significant professional decision. In response to the gravity of the ongoing investigation, Laurie Sanborn, previously occupying the position of chairwoman of a legislative commission tasked with studying the impacts of new charitable gaming rules, chose to resign. This strategic move aimed to address any potential conflicts of interest and maintain the integrity of the legislative process amid the scrutiny surrounding the Sanborns’ actions.

Stepping down from the leadership role

The decision to step down from a leadership role underscores the serious nature of the allegations and the commitment to ensuring an unbiased and impartial inquiry. Laurie Sanborn’s resignation not only reflects a personal acknowledgment of the need for transparency but also serves to mitigate any perceived influence on the legislative commission’s proceedings, allowing for an unbiased evaluation of new charitable gaming rules.

Legal turbulence

Amid the legal turbulence, the fate of Andy Sanborn’s plans to open a second casino in Concord remains uncertain. The suspension of his charitable gaming license and the mandated sale of Concord Casino impose significant hurdles, potentially impacting the viability of any future casino ventures. The intricate interplay between the criminal investigation, regulatory measures, and the desire to expand into a new casino project underscores the multifaceted challenges that Sanborn faces in navigating the legal landscape.

Uncertain future

The unresolved nature of the criminal probe casts a shadow over the broader implications for both Sanborns. Questions persist about the potential legal ramifications, which could range from financial penalties to more severe consequences depending on the findings of the investigation. The uncertainty surrounding the timeline and outcome of the criminal inquiry adds an additional layer of complexity to the overall situation.

Concord Casino license suspended | Financial Irregularities and Casino Closure

The investigation revealed financial irregularities, including the misuse of loan money for additional rent and engineering costs for the second casino. However, King found insufficient evidence to support these claims. With the suspension of Sanborn’s gaming license, Concord Casino closed its doors on January 1, leaving New Hampshire gamblers with one less option.

Final Thoughts | Concord Casino license suspended

The suspension of Andy Sanborn’s charitable gaming license and the mandated sale of Concord Casino reflect the severity of the allegations surrounding the misuse of COVID relief funds. The ongoing criminal investigation adds another layer of complexity to the situation, leaving the future of Sanborn’s casino ventures uncertain. The case underscores the importance of maintaining integrity in charitable gaming and the consequences faced by those found to have misused public funds. Sanborn’s potential sale of the casino within the mandated timeframe will be closely watched as the legal proceedings unfold. Want to learn more about casinos outside of New Hampshire? Learn more about New Jersey, Michigan, West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania casinos. 

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Concord Casino New Hampshire