Keno may soon be legal in Connecticut. It’s a lottery-like electronic game, and lawmakers say it could bring in between $30 and $60 million a year in state revenue. The state faces a projected deficit of more than a billion dollars a year.
Governor Dannel Malloy wants lawmakers to call a special session to re-examine taxes in the budget. Once Malloy signs the budget into law, residents could expect to see Keno within six months.
They could expect to see it at restaurants and bars, along with anywhere that already sells lottery tickets. Players pick numbers off a screen and wait for drawings to see if their numbers won.
“It’s sold out of the same terminals that we sell Powerball and Mega Million. Keno is a little bit different because the drawings are every four minutes, and the results of the drawings are displayed on a TV monitor, and select locations will have those TV monitors,” said Anne Noble, director of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, which is slated to oversee the day-to-day operation of Keno.
Organizations including the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling and the Malta Justice Initiative, a prison reform group, have opposed legalized Keno. At a series of public hearings earlier this year, representatives from those groups said Keno could lead to more gambling addiction in Connecticut, and that untreated gambling addiction can lead to poverty and crime.
Right now, the only place to play Keno in Connecticut is at Foxwoods, one of the state’s two Indian-run casinos. The game is legal in all of Connecticut’s neighboring states.