DERRY — Town councilors want the state's top leader to know they are interested in bringing sports betting to town.
At a meeting Jan. 7, councilors decided it would be wise to draft a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu to voice an interest in bringing sports betting to Derry if voters approve the measure at the polls in March.
The measure comes after councilors pondered a proposed change in the town's ordinance to allow sports betting in certain zones in the community.
The proposed language in the town's ordinance includes sports wagering as a permitted use in the General Commercial, General Commercial IV and Industrial IV districts.
Those zones were the best options that town officials recommended during various council and planning board meetings in past months.
Councilor Jim Morgan said sending the letter to Sununu would give Derry a bit of an edge to let the state know it's interested.
"A letter from the seven of us would be a good idea," Morgan said. "I think we should be proactive. I think the voters are going to approve it, and the economic upside of it, (especially) the Route 28 south side, would be fantastic."
Last July, Sununu signed a bill to legalize and regulate sports betting in New Hampshire. Ten licenses will be granted to interested communities. New Hampshire is the second state in New England, after Rhode Island, to legalize sports betting.
Some communities had sports betting on November ballots and measures were approved, including in Manchester, while others like Derry will decide at the polls in March.
The idea of bringing sports betting to specific areas of Derry started last year when town officials began the work of recommending the best spots in town for the betting business.
Morgan said by sending the letter to the governor, Derry will show its commitment and interest. And he feels the zones recommended for the betting would not cause any nuisance or problems.
"The squeaky wheel gets the grease," Morgan said. "Let's be the squeaky wheel on this. We have a good opportunity if voters agree."
The Town Council will host a public hearing on sports betting at its meeting Jan. 28.