Former State Senator's Casino Cited for Dealer Errors, Inaccurate Payouts

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

This past Friday we reported on how a former New Hampshire state senator is under investigation for misusing Covid relief funds that were intended for his casino and bar.


Former Sen. Andy Sanborn owns the Concord Casino within The Draft Sports Bar and Grill in Concord and is seeking to open a much larger venue a few miles away, but the state lottery commission is now moving to permanently ban him from operating any such business.

He's accused of fraudulently obtaining $844,000 in funding from the Small Business Administration and using said funds to purchase two  Porsche race cars for $181,000 and $80,000 on a Ferrari for his wife Laurie Sanborn.  She is a current Republican state representative and currently serves as Deputy Majority Leader since December 2, 2020.  Laurie Sanborn was forced to resign as head of a study committee on gambling.

Federal authorities have been notified, and the state has begun a criminal investigation, said Attorney General John Formella.

“This case highlights the importance of law enforcement’s role in keeping illegal activity out of New Hampshire’s charitable gaming industry,” he said in a statement. “Our obligation to protect the public demands that we take action against any person who is found to have used their regulated casino to enrich themselves with fraudulently obtained taxpayer funds.”

Since this story broke, a Concord Monitor analysis of incident reports from the N.H. Lottery Commission was obtained by the Valley News and shows what it describes as a range of complaints and issues.  These include inaccurate prize payouts, discrepancies in charity donations, problems with surveillance camera functionality and dealer errors in table games.

The Monitor received the records through a Right to Know request.  More records are anticipated some time next week.

In one case an individual took part in a poker tournament featuring an advertised $700 to be split by the winners.  Instead, they were given $300 to divide amongst themselves.  The unidentified man also claimed that Sanborn had threatened him in the past.

Security problems were also highlighted in the records.  These included mishandling of cash, a failure to conduct dual counts and instances where the casino deducted funds from the prize pool to refund a player who no longer wished to participate in a game, according to The Monitor.

The Sanborns also planned to open another casino under the guise of "wanting to give back to the community".   Residents of Concord near the planned venue expressed concerns over the impact on emergency services, traffic, poverty and the increase in crime, including theft, drug use, prostitution and sex trafficking.

“As we see in other New Hampshire communities, we have an opportunity to make a material, positive financial impact with upwards of 72 local charitable organizations, of which real good can come,” Andy and Laurie Sanborn wrote in their application to the city of Concord for the new casino on Break O’ Day Drive off Loudon Road.

And residents fears are hardly unwarranted.

Last year, a fight outside the Concord Casino resulted in one man's arrest for an active warrant. Later, the suspect was accused of smashing his head against a barrier inside the cruiser.  Just months earlier, a man was taken into custody after reportedly punching a woman in the face and pulling out a handgun during.

- Jagajeet Chiba,

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