Legislators debate lottery game “Keno”

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–Earlier this year, legislative leaders said they were going to repeal the popular lottery game called “Keno,” but on Monday it appeared that the game was back in the cards again for Connecticut.

Keno games for bars and restaurants across Connecticut still haven’t started despite being made legal last year. Leaders of the Democratic General Assembly said in February that they wanted to kill Keno before it began because the state budget was running a surplus, and they didn’t need the money.

But now legislators want the game back 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 Representative Pat Widlitz.

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 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 Republican senator Rob Kane.

Problem gambling experts have said that Keno affects those least able to afford a gambling habit, and 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,” Widlitz said.

Though he signed Keno into law last year, Gov. Malloy said he would like to get rid of it.

“I know that there is some speculation that the legislature may keep it, but I can assure you that if a bill comes to me doing away with it, I’ll sign it,” Malloy said.

 

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