Monday, February 8, 2010

Governor Says State Can Offer Keno Without Legislative Approval

Feather News
Updated 2

Governor Jodi Rell wants Keno in Connecticut and she says it can be done without approval of the legislature, according to an e-mail cited by the Hartford Courant yesterday that was sent by the governor to the co-chair of a House committee that oversees gaming, West Haven Democratic State Representative Stephen Dargan.

Keno, which the Governor contends is just another type of lottery game, could bring the state as much as $60 million in revenue annually from the outlets that would operate the game such as bars, restaurants and convenience stores.

Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal said last year, after the prospect of Keno was first raised by the Governor, that such a move could violate the gaming compact between the state and the tribes if Keno is determined to be a commercial casino game and not a lottery game.

Some say Blumenthal´s opinion was inconclusive, including the governor. Last June, Gov. Rell said, "There should be no question the Keno can be introduced as a lottery game. Nevertheless, I have always intended to make sure we proceed in a way that honors and protects Connecticut's long-standing relationship with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes."

As recently as December, the executive director of the Connecticut Division of Special Revenue, Paul Young, told the state´s gaming policy board that ¨from the Division’s perspective there is already authority for Keno to occur. It is not a Governor decision per se.¨

Young continued in the meeting minutes, ¨The statutes clearly indicate that the President of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation has the authority to introduce new lottery games, and it rests only with the Lottery organization to decide what games are best for them/the public.¨

Keno is a game in which a player picks a set of numbers between 1 and 80. A player´s winnings are determined by the amount wagered and the amount of numbers drawn that match the player´s set of numbers.

Note - Links to the state´s Gaming Policy Board meeting minutes for the past two years can be accessed on the left-hand side of this website.