Legalizing Keno Once Again In Play At N.H. Statehouse

Mar 22, 2017

The Common Grounds cafe in Methuen is a popular spot for Keno, just across the New Hampshire border
Credit Brian Wallstin for NHPR

A bill to legalize the video lottery game Keno in New Hampshire received pushback from lawmakers Wednesday for being too restrictive.

As written, the bill would allow only establishments with liquor licenses and that serve alcohol to apply for a Keno license. Convenient stores, gas stations and grocery stores would be excluded.

But several members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee said Keno, an electronic lottery game, should be an option to any outlet with a lottery license.

Credit Sara Plourde and Brian Wallstin for NHPR

Representative Gary Azarian, the bill’s prime sponsor, says he’s open to changing it but has reservations.

“Implementing it in places where people obviously if you have a liquor license you are above the 18 age limit and you will have less people that are minors maybe playing the game.”

If passed, cities and towns would have the final say on whether Keno would be allowed. The game is estimated to bring in more than eight million dollars annually statewide.

Last year the Senate killed a similar measure on grounds that it would lead to an increase in gambling addiction.

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