Andy Sanborn’s hearing delayed again

Laurie and Andy Sanborn own The Draft Sports Bar and Grill and Concord Casino located on South Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire.

Laurie and Andy Sanborn own The Draft Sports Bar and Grill and Concord Casino located on South Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire. GEOFF FORESTER

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 11-07-2023 8:51 PM

Modified: 11-08-2023 7:50 PM


Concord Casino owner Andy Sanborn won another delay to defend himself against the state Lottery Commission, which says he is unfit to be associated with charity gaming and is moving to revoke his gambling licenses.

Last week, Superior Court Judge Amy Ignatius ruled in favor of Sanborn’s request for more time, ordering that the hearing should happen after Dec. 11, nearly three and a half months after the commission and the Attorney General’s Office announced legal proceedings against the former state Senator.

“Despite nearly five years of licensed operations, we have grave concerns with Concord Casino’s continuing involvement in gaming in New Hampshire,” the Lottery Commission’s suitability report on Sanborn states. “This review has identified that Mr. Sanborn has a general disregard for compliance with laws, rules, and procedures.”

This month’s court decision followed an Oct. 23 hearing where Sanborn’s legal team argued that the Lottery Commission had been inconsistent in its process, failed to respond to all discovery requests and insisted on appointing a new presiding officer for the upcoming hearing.

The court stated that considering the change in the hearing’s scope, “the plaintiffs are likely to suffer a potential due process violation if the hearing is based on the prior notice.”

The court also ordered the appointment of a trained hearings examiner from another New Hampshire state agency as the presiding judge for the upcoming hearing.

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Previously, the head of the hearing panel was Debra Douglas, the chair of the lottery commission.

“I think at this point that it’s really just a delay that they’re using, despite being offered essentially everything they have articulated that they wanted,” said the commission’s attorney at last month’s hearing. “I think that they want to drag this process out even further to leverage settlement and try to force the commission to settlement.”

Sanborn’s legal battle stemmed from a joint investigation by the Attorney General and the Lottery Commission, which found him unsuitable to be associated with charitable gaming. Sanborn fraudulently obtained $844,000 of federal COVID relief funds and used the money to support his lavish lifestyle, including buying sports cars for himself and his wife, State Rep. Laurie Sanborn, according to the findings of the eight-month investigation. The relief funds were intended for struggling small businesses and casinos were exempt from receiving the money. Sanborn got around that, investigators say, by concealing the registered trade name “Concord Casino” on his application, using the name “Win Win Win LLC” instead and listing the business activity as “miscellaneous.”

The findings of the investigation were released on Aug. 31. Sanborn made a request for a hearing and it was initially set for Oct. 3. Then it was postponed to Oct. 13 when Sanborn’s lawyers argued that they needed more time to analyze documents and prepare for the hearing. Sanborn’s health was also cited as one of the reasons for the need to postpone the hearing by his attorneys.

While Sanborn is in a legal battle with the Lottery Commission, his business, Concord Casino shows no signs of slowing down. It continues to remain open until 1 a.m., seven days a week. On average it takes in about $2,000 a night in winnings.

Records show the Concord Casino takes in about $1 million a year in revenue. Of that amount, 35% is supposed to be given to licensed charities and non-profits. But Sanborn keeps half of those payouts in the form of rent he charges the charities.

Sanborn is also the subject of two criminal investigations by both state and federal authorities. He owns and operates the Draft Sports Bar on Main Street in Concord, which is also the location of the Concord Casino. Sanborn was approved by the Concord Planning Board to open a larger gaming and entertainment facility on Loudon Road, but those plans are being challenged in court.

Sanborn’s casino license is set to expire on Dec. 31.

Editor’s note: This story has been changed to reflect Andy Sanborn’s casino license is set to expire on Dec. 31. The date was incorrect.