NH Lottery

NHPR File

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.

Brian Wallstin for NHPR

Budget writers in the N.H. House are eyeing the lottery game Keno as a way to fund full day kindergarten. The state senate has always opposed Keno and Governor Sununu says he's yet to see the details of the plan.

These days lotteries are everywhere. Walk into most convenience stores and you’ll see scratch tickets on sale. Big Powerball payouts stretching across state lines make headlines, but fifty years ago the idea that lotteries were sinful and contributed to society’s moral decay was more widespread than it is today.

You may be surprised to learn that in the 1960s New Hampshire was the first state to launch a legal lottery. It came after a fight involving politicians of opposing sides, religious moralists, mob members, and the FBI.

NH Lottery

  The New Hampshire Lottery is selling a bacon-scented scratch ticket.

The I Heart Bacon Scratch ticket features a $1,000 dollar grand prize and ink which releases the a bacon-like aroma when scratched.

To publicize the release of the ticket, the Lottery will be giving out free bacon in Keene, Durham, Hooksett and Manchester starting on Friday.

The tickets cost $1 a piece and winning tickets will reveal either a heart or a bacon symbol.

Courtesy Photo

A forthcoming book explores the tumultuous history of this first-in-the-nation state-run lottery. Approval for the lottery followed a bitter fight, with opponents warning it could lead to Communism and racketeering.  Now, fifty years later, lotteries are in forty-three states. Still, controversy remains over whether this is the best way to raise revenue.

Little-known facts about the lottery:

The New Hampshire lottery — now in its 50th year — is honoring the former Keene state representative who pushed for it more than sixty years ago.

On Friday, the lottery is celebrating Laurence "Larry" Pickett night at the Keene Swamp Bats baseball game. Pickett worked from 1952 to 1953 to make sure legislation passed making New Hampshire the first state in the nation with a lottery. His lobbying efforts go back even further.

Along with the dedication, Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the lottery, will throw out the first pitch.

The game starts at 6:30 p.m.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that barred New Hampshire from disclosing the names of lottery winners.

Hassan said current law recognizes winners' privacy by not requiring disclosure of their names proactively, but she said barring disclosure in all instances weakened public oversight and could lead to corruption.