Senator Hwang Testifies Against Keno Bill

April 15, 2015

State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) testified April 15 before the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, to voice his strong opposition to HB 7054, which would permit keno games in the state of Connecticut.

Sen. Hwang joined with former Congressman Robert Steele in submitting written testimony. Below is the text of that testimony:


Esteemed members of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee:

We wish to testify in opposition to H.B. No. 7054, a bill to permit the introduction of keno games to be sold by the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, subject to agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes. While the bill would provide the Connecticut Lottery Corporation greater flexibility in marketing gambling games, it would further spread the damaging effects of casino-type gambling across the state.

Connecticut is already home to two of the world’s biggest casinos. H.B. 7054 would result in a significant expansion of casino-type gambling by introducing a highly addictive gambling game to thousands of locations, including restaurants, where children will be present, and bars and taverns, which will deliberately mix dining, drinking and betting.

A similar legislative proposal last year to legalize keno projected that it could generate up to $28 million a year in revenue. But those revenues would not even begin to be worth the economic, social, and public health costs. To begin with, every cent of keno revenue would come from the gambling losses of keno players, providing the state with no net economic gain. Moreover, the latest research shows that today’s electronic and machine gambling technology is increasingly addictive, creating a host of problems, including debt, bankruptcy, broken families, and crime. A study of keno in New York State found that it led to a sharp increase in minority betting, while it has been well-documented that legalized gambling is a regressive tax that hits low-wage earners, minorities, and retirees the hardest.

The most recent Quinnipiac University poll on keno found that 59 percent of Connecticut residents opposed the legalization of keno. Connecticut’s media has overwhelming opposed its legalization over the past two years. And last year Governor Malloy, the House Speaker, and the Senate President Pro Tem all disavowed their earlier support for keno.

More gambling is not an answer to Connecticut’s economic problems. Instead of encouraging our citizens to gamble away their savings, we need to attract productive, living-wage jobs, promote stable revenue streams and end the runaway spending that’s put the state so deeply in debt.

Thank you,

State Senator Tony Hwang
Former Congressman Robert Steele