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Nashua, N.H. Board Approves Placing Casino in Store at Mall


Posted on: September 12, 2023, 12:10h. 

Last updated on: September 12, 2023, 12:10h.

A plan to transform the former Sears store in Nashua, N.H. into a charitable casino is moving forward. Last week, the Nashua Planning Board voted by a 4-to-1 margin to okay the project.

Pheasant Lane Mall entrance
Pheasant Lane Mall entrance, pictured above. Last week, local officials approved placing a casino in a vacant store at the mall. (Image: Simon Property Group)

The ex-Sears store is located at the southeastern corner of Pheasant Lane Mall located on the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border.

Once likely complete by the end of next year, the two-story gaming property will measure 169,000 square-feet. It will include over 1,000 historic horse race (HHR) machine games, as well as dozens of table games.

ECL Entertainment and Clairvest are developers behind the casino. ECL owns and operates HHR venues in Kentucky, including the Mint Casino at Kentucky Downs, according to the New Hampshire Business Review. Clairvest is a Toronto-based private equity firm.

Under the plan, licenses from two Nashua casinos, The Lucky Moose Casino & Tavern and The River Casino & Sports Bar, will get transferred to the new casino at the mall.

The Sears store has been vacant since 2020. The mall is owned by the Simon Property Group.

Opposition to Casino

While being reviewed by the planning board, residents voiced concerns about how emergencies at the casino will be handled by police. One issue is that the entire parking area is located in Tyngsborough, Mass., rather than in New Hampshire.

Others thought the presence of a casino would clash with other mall tenants.

It seems to me that an adult entertainment center [placed] into one of the five big box stores, the vacant Sears store, is way out of character with the master plan, and I think it’s way out of character with the mall, which [is] a family-friendly shopping center,” Bill Ohm, a local resident, was quoted by Manchester, N.H. TV station WMUR.

But others support the casino.

“I think having a casino in the mall is outside-the-box thinking, but I believe in the end, it will be a shot in the arm to the Daniel Webster Highway and the retail, restaurants, and what have you, down there,” Stefan Hausberger, a local business owner, was quoted by WMUR.

Other Local Gaming

Also, in October, Delaware North, a hospitality and entertainment company which owns Boston’s TD Garden and the Boston Bruins, acquired the Boston Billiard Club & Casino which has a location in Nashua.

The Nashua operation recently was renamed the Gate City Casino. It has added a retail DraftKings sportsbook.

Eventually, the Gate City Casino will relocate to the Sheraton Nashua hotel. It’s near the mall.

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