State Public Safety Committee Raises Bill to Repeal Keno

Feb 20, 2014

Co-chairs of the legislature's Public Safety and Security Committee, Rep. Stephen Dargan and Sen. Joan Hartley, at left.
Credit Connecticut Commission on Children

Connecticut's Public Safety and Security Committee met Thursday morning to raise a bill on Keno in the state. State Representative Stephen Dargan (D-West Haven) is proposing legislation to repeal last year's bill that legalized the game in Connecticut.

The controversial game is looking less likely to survive the current session, as more lawmakers express an interest in repealing legislation that made it legal. 

Dargan, co-chair of the Public Safety and Security Committee, told WNPR, "We'll have a public hearing on the issue of Keno. There's been a difference of opinion on Keno not only from the committee, but from the respective leaders in the Democrat and Republican caucuses. So we're going to vet it a little bit more." 

This week, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams said that revenues from Keno are no longer necessary as the state budget shows a projected surplus. The measure to add Keno was approved last year in a last minute closed door session, a decision that was sharply criticized by a wide range of interest groups at the time. Dargan said if keno is repealed, then the legislature would have to remedy an estimated $20-$30 million dollar gap in the budget. 

Keno, a form of video gaming that would have been made available in bars, restaurants and corner stores, has been described as the crack cocaine of gambling. It hasn’t yet been launched, as Connecticut’s Lottery Corporation remained in talks with the state’s two Indian tribes over revenue sharing.

Senior Republicans in the House and Senate have already said they’ll seek repeal, and Democrat Andrea Stillman has introduced legislation that would kill the game in Connecticut.

Watch CT-N's footage of Rep. Dargan's news briefing on Thursday below: