New Hampshire has an established history of legalized gambling, with poker events, bingo nights, Lucky-7 ticket sales, and wagering at the state‘s race tracks bringing in a total of $615 million in 2008. However, though New Hampshire was the first state to introduce lotteries, the public is still discussing whether it would be prudent to continue to expand gambling.
As of 2010, Portsmouth, New Hampshire (population 20,000) has sustained the practice of organized, public dialogue and deliberation for over ten years. Since 1999, diverse community groups in Portsmouth have organized at least six rounds of large-scale dialogue-to-action circles (study circles) initiatives. This case study provides brief descriptions of four of these initiatives from 1999 through 2004. Descriptions of Portsmouth’s later public engagement initiatives will be added to this entry at a later date, or posted as separate entries.