New Hampshire Lottery Director Charlie McIntyre says Granite Staters currently spend about $25 million a year playing keno in Massachusetts.
That is one reason the state is upbeat about a new law that gives cities and towns the option to allow keno gambling. A projected $9 million in revenue will help fund full-day kindergarten.
Voters in eleven cities will weigh that ballot question this fall. But not everyone is so gung-ho about it.
Portsmouth rejected it. City Councilor Chris Dwyer tells The Exchange that restaurant and bar owners have not expressed interest in it.
One caller to The Exchange worried about gambling addiction. He recalled watching people play keno at Massachusetts establishments. He claimed these venues morphed into “keno zombie lands.”
The law puts the New Hampshire Lottery in charge of administration and enforcement of keno. In this new role, McIntyre is traveling the state to explain what the law does and does not do. It’s up to towns and cities.
In response to the listener, McIntyre said Massachusetts has a much more aggressive application and allowance of keno.
He says Massachusetts sells more keno games than anyone else in the country. And the biggest keno seller in the world is actually on the New Hampshire-Massachusetts state border. So close that some of its parking lot is in New Hampshire.
Keno is a bingo-like game with a machine randomly generating numbers. The keno law stipulates that a business or operator with a valid liquor license may only run the games between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Apart from prize payouts, a keno licensee may keep eight percent of the proceeds and one percent is dedicated to support for problem gamblers.
Map: Where do NH towns stand on keno?