HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Opponents of expanding gambling in Connecticut said Thursday they were happy to see Gov. Dannel P. Malloy indicate a willingness to reverse course on a plan to introduce keno, a bingo-style game that was authorized by the legislature last year as part of a deal to balance the state budget.
Malloy said Wednesday it was not his idea to bring keno terminals to the state and suggested he would sign a bill to repeal the legislation if one reaches his desk.
State Rep. Tony Hwang, a Fairfield Republican, and former U.S. Rep. Robert Steele on Thursday said they welcomed the governor’s comments and urged him to push for repeal.
“The Governor’s reversal provides not only an important opportunity to halt keno, but to reverse the growing drive to expand casino-type gambling in general in Connecticut,” Hwang and Steele said in a statement. They noted a legislative task force is also exploring whether to allow video gambling at facilities in Bridgeport, Windsor Locks and New Haven.
Keno, a game of chance found in supermarkets, gas stations, convenience stores, bars and restaurants in neighboring states, was authorized by the General Assembly in June. Because both the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes have exclusive rights to such games at their casinos under a compact with the state, the budget bill authorized the tribes to each receive 12.5 percent of keno’s gross operating revenues.
Malloy said this week that keno would help the state’s bottom line, but he would follow the legislature’s lead.
While Keno was proposed as a way to help cover a budget shortfall, the state today has a projected $500 million surplus.
A bill to repeal Keno has been introduced at the General Assembly by Sen. Andrea Stillman of Waterford.
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