Can keno machines help raise Conn. gaming revenue?

Jun 10, 2013 8:10 PM

Faced with declining revenues from its two tribal casinos, the State of Connecticut is looking at another source of gaming revenue…keno.

Placing keno gambling devices in restaurants, bars and other places throughout the state, officials said, could generate some $31 million in revenue over two years. They went so far as to authorize keno in a proposed $44 billion two-year state budget.

In order to protect both Foxwoods Resorts and the Mohegan Sun casinos from declining revenues because of the keno competition, the legislation calls for the tribal operators to each receive 12.5% of keno’s gross operating revenue.

“We believe there certainly is a finite amount of disposable income that people would spend in gaming,” said Chuck Bunnell, a spokesman for the Mohegans, adding that there is “potential impact.” He explained that the 25% figure used to calculate the amount of revenue to be paid to the tribes is the same percentage the tribes pay from their slots revenues to the state.

The keno proposal was not endorsed by everybody, especially the Republicans in both the House and the Senate.

“They’re relying on potential income based on gambling rather than the real economy. Our whole economy is based on gambling and pure luck,” said Sen. Rob Kane, who was quoted by AP writer Stephen Singer.

Like others in his party, Kane said the Democratic majority is spending too much time looking for revenue rather than cutting spending to close budget gaps.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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