Keno is a great game so why not use in to enhance or replace existing lotteries as revenue providers for needy towns. More and more local elections are opting for the Bingo-like form of gambling. Places like Allenstown, Andover, Epsom and Northwood have been asking residents to vote.
Not everyone is onboard, however as Deerfield and Gilford have rejected the proposition. It is clearly a contentious issue. Legalized gambling is not always popular in spite of its revenue benefits. Of course, a town has to have a venue to host the game and this could open up some new avenues for entrepreneurs.
New England cities in Massachusetts and smaller towns in the region already allow Keno in local restaurants and businesses. Many are applying for licenses from the various lottery commissions. Revenues can rack up millions, filling in for state and municipal shortfalls. Some say that this is optimistic. In fact, Concord, Portsmouth and Exeter have recently turned Keno down.
A rejection of the game is surprising given that it is a legalized way to fund, among other things, school kindergarten programs. The Department of Education is struggling to find the millions necessary ($1,100 on average per student). When state budgets fall short of such important goals, officials must turn to Keno profits.
Sports betting is another solution to the funding problem and it is easy to include in restaurants, bars and casinos. The lottery commissions estimate up to seven or eight million even in the first year. Property taxes have long been relied upon and the pressure is increasing. Opponents still fear gambling addictions waiting in the wings and issues for the poor.
If there are good enough reasons, Keno should find easy passage in some areas. The schools are eager to see this happen.
A version of this article first appeared at concordmonitor.com