Beloved New Hampshire bowling alley closing so casino can expand

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DOVER, NH – There is a bittersweet feeling from the Dover community that the long-standing Dover Bowl will close its doors for good, as a casino takes over the space.

For as long as anyone can remember, the Dover Bowl has always been there as a community staple that’s more than just a bowling alley.

“I’m not happy because this is like my social outlet and I love it,” said bowling league member Susan Loughlin. “They’re all my friends and I’m going to miss them, I don’t know it’s sad, very sad.”

Owners say Dover Bowl is shutting down to expand the Filotimo Casino and Restaurant, which shares the same building.

The New Hampshire Group sent WBZ a statement saying:

“Filotimo Dover is expanding its offerings and updating its facility to allow our charitable partners to increase their revenue while additionally providing our guests with a new dining concept, live entertainment space and radio broadcast studio.

The increased interest in our facility has made it challenging, despite best efforts, to keep a clear separation between gaming and non-gaming areas for those 18 and over as mandated by the state.”

Dover Bowl
Dover Bowl in Dover, New Hampshire

CBS Boston

On Friday night, the Phillips family came to say goodbye, wondering where the next gathering place will be.

“It is bittersweet because where are families going to go now in this area, where’s the closest place?” said Scott Phillips.

“It’s a big special place, and they don’t have much of that around here, I mean being able to come and bowl with family,” said Crystal Phillips.

The only consolation for Rob Galoant is that New Hampshire law requires all casinos give 35% to charity.

“It’s all about the money, they’re going to make a lot more money gambling, but hey it is what it is,” said Galoant. “It’s kind of sad, it’s really kind of sad because everyone has been doing this a number of years.”

As the end gets closer, Nancy Davis holds onto the memories she’s made for generations, while remembering that everything indeed has its season.

“I was born in 48 so what does that tell you? I’ve been coming here a long time,” said Davis. “It’s like everything else. A lot of things like family values in places like this are slowly going away.”

The final day for bowling is April 29th.

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