Should Keno Come To Bars And Restaurants? [FoxCT]

March 6, 2014

Keno, a gambling game approved by the Connecticut General Assembly in June of 2013, may never see the light of day. That is if many of the same legislators, who pushed for it, are successful in having it repealed.

State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) is on the legislative committee that oversees gambling. He is among the Republicans accusing the Malloy administration of sneaking Keno in at the end of the 2013 session. The about face came after it was learned there would be a $500 million budget surplus.

“Remember, this is an election year. And, it’s not popular. So, why not do something that resonates with the voters in Connecticut,” said Witkos.

Witkos says Governor Malloy claimed Keno was not his idea. But, Witkos believes information he obtained, through a Freedom of Information request, illustrates otherwise.

“Emails from his office, his budget office, show that they provided the language for the legislature’s budget. So, he was aware a week before the rest of the legislature was aware that it was in the budget,” added Witkos.

If Keno does survive, on Capitol source tells Fox CT that it would not be for more than a year. One concern of opponents of additional gaming in Connecticut is exposing youth to gambling.

“Having grown up in Massachusetts, you can see young kids filling out the little tabs. And, though they can’t bring them up to get money, if someone should win, we’re teaching a gambling activity at a very young age,” says Mary Drexler of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling.

Adam Osmond, of Farmington, is hoping Keno’s approval is repealed. The game would be rolled out in restaurants, bars and some convenience stores. Osmond lost the two convenience stores he owned because of a gambling addiction.

“My store sales went from $4,000 a week to $20,000 a week. And I was cashing tickets, and then playing back. And, cashing tickets and playing back,” said Osmond.