CONWAY — Selectmen today will be hearing about two petitions calling on voters to allow keno and sports betting.
These articles are being proposed as part of a plan to have a sports bar and limited charitable gaming going in at the former Shurfine grocery store in the plaza at 234 White Mountain Highway.
Selectmen meet at 4 p.m. at town hall at 23 Main St. They will be voting on whether to recommend petitioned warrant articles for voters to decide at the polls in April. The minimum to get on the warrant is 25 signatures from registered voters.
Town Manager Tom Holmes said proponents of the petitions will attend today’s meeting. “We will have questions for them,” he said.
Holmes said a public hearing on the sports betting and keno articles would be held sometime before the town vote. Asked who would be speaking on behalf of the petitions, Holmes replied Tiffany Eddy.
Eddy is from Tiffany Eddy & Associates, a Concord-based communications firm.
Bedford businessman Richard Anagnost previously told the Sun he plans to have all under one roof a restaurant, a bar and a charitable gaming operation in the space at Shurfine Plaza. Anagnost said his Conway restaurant will be known as Filotimo.
“The word philanthropy comes from the Greek word ‘filotimo,’ so we raise money for charities, so that’s our philanthropy; the word hospitality also comes from ‘filotimo,’ which is restaurants and bars, and the first four letters of the word stand for the Greek word for ‘friend’: So we invite our friends to enjoy our hospitality and raise money for charity,” he said.
Anagnost said that in addition to blackjack and roulette, the facility will feature HHR — historical horse racing — machines, which are similar to slots.
“We raise money for charities by allowing 10 days for each charity annually to have what’s the equivalent of a Monte Carlo night,” Anagnost explained, adding, “Casinos are illegal in New Hampshire — charitable gaming is allowed.
Eddy told the Sun Monday a Filotimo restaurant is already operating in Manchester. She serves as Filotimo’s charity outreach coordinator. “I help tell the good stories about the different charities that have their 10 days of charitable gaming and help promote that they will be at the facility,” she said.
Money from sports betting and Keno 603 — the state-sanctioned betting game — would not be going to charities, but Eddy said that keno and sports betting would help drive traffic to the facility.
Sports betting and Keno 603 money goes toward education, said Maura McCann, director of marketing for the New Hampshire Lottery of Concord.
Eddy told the Sun on Monday that N.H. Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre would be attending today’s selectmen’s meeting.
One petition asks if “the town of Conway will vote to allow the operation of sports betting within the town pursuant to the provisions of NH RSA 287-I:1 though 17.”
The other petition asks if voters will allow the operation of Keno within the Town pursuant to the provisions of NH RSA 284:41 through 51.
Keno has been put before voters three times in recent years. Most recently in 2020, voters refused to allow keno by a tally of 894-524; however, it is available at Almost There, a sports pub just over the town line in Albany.
Keno has raised $30 million in ticket sales the current fiscal year which started July 1, 2021, said McCann.
The state’s partner for sports betting is Draft Kings. People may bet on professional sports like NFL football, NHL hockey and NBA basketball, along with major-league baseball and table tennis. It has generated $1 billion in wagers placed over the past two years. And $30 million has been earmarked for education.
The state is looking to have up 10 sports betting locations. It already has three in Seabrook, Manchester and Dover, said McCann.
Other petitions the selectmen will be discussing today include Vaughan Community Service Inc., Vaughan Community Learning Center, Tri-County CAP and the Gibson Center for Senior Services.
The deadline for people to submit petitioned articles is Feb. 8.