Lawmakers on budget committee outline concerns about expansion to Keno

06/27/2013 03:20 PM

Kentucky Lottery Corporation officials said Thursday they are on pace to launch Keno in November but some lawmakers expressed concerns that the game will have unintended consequences.

Keno is similar to Lotto, as players select up to 10 numbers to match the 20 numbers drawn by the lottery.

Lottery officials estimate that the game will generate sales from $53 million in the first full year, growing to $110 million in the 5th full year. Annual dividends will be $15 million in year one growing to $30 million in 5 years.

Kentucky Lottery Corporation Vice President and COO Margaret Gibbs said the biggest difference between Keno and the current lottery is the frequency of the drawings.

“It’s got drawings much like our Lotto games or our daily games but, the intervals of those drawings are at five minutes rather than one or two a day.”

However, several legislators on the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue said they were concerned that Keno may have some undesired consequences.

“I think it’s ripe to challenge on several issues: One, whether it meets the definition of lottery games that was contemplated when this was adopted and whether, for example, we are crossing the line into approving a gambling establishment potentially by having a social setting,” said Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, R-Monticello.

She said it could leave the state open to a legal challenge:

Sen. Bob Leeper, the Paducah independent who co-chairs the budget committee, said he thinks the game could become addictive.

“You start playing a game which is 5 minutes apart, on a video terminal, you dramatically increase the number of addicts that you’re going to have,” Leeper said.

The Kentucky Lottery Corporations Keno timeline is to recruit retailers for the game from July 1 through Dec. 31. Complete software and equipment installation by Oct. 19 and launch sales between Oct. 19 and Nov. 19.

About Don Weber

Don Weber joined cn|2 when it launched back in May 2010 and soon became a reporter for Pure Politics. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and has spent many years covering everything from politics to sports. Don says he loves meeting new people everyday as part of his job and also enjoys the fact that no two days are the same when he comes to work. Don Weber can be reached at donald.weber@charter.com.

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