HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Earlier this year, legislative leaders said they were going to repeal Keno before it began. But it appears that Keno is back in the cards for Connecticut.
This year’s budget surplus is expected to evaporate and turn red next year so lawmakers and the Governor may need money that Keno would raise.
Those Keno games for bars and restaurants across Connecticut that were made legal last year still haven’t started and the Democratic leadership of the General Assembly said in February they wanted to kill Keno before it began because the state budget was running a surplus and they didn’t need the money. They’re changing their tune again.
“I think it’s safe to say we’re a little reluctant to do away with any projected revenue because we don’t have the actual numbers from the ‘Income Tax’ collections,” said Rep. Pat Widlitz,(D) Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee.
Final numbers on the April 15th ‘Income Tax’ filings won’t be known until later this week but right now projections for the next two years show a return of red ink and Keno is projected to bring in 40 million dollars for the state.
“This legislature and this Democratic Governor have continued such a large appetite for spending that it makes sense to me that they would want to continue revenue regardless of who it hurts,” said Sen. Rob Kane,(R) Deputy Minority Leader.
Problem gambling experts have said that Keno affects those least able to afford a gambling habit that’s why no one at the Capitol is very enthusiastic about this form of gambling.
“We would love to do away with it…if we have the revenue,” said Widlitz.
Even though he signed Keno into law last year, the Governor, who is running for re-election, continues to distance himself from it.
“I know that there is some speculation that the legislature may keep it. I can assure you that if a bill comes to me doing away with it…I’ll sign it,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy/(D) Connecticut.
The Lottery Commission has told state lawmakers that Keno is ready to go. They’ve spent a year getting it ready.