AG Not Ready to Wager on Keno

Richard Blumenthal said the state should amend the compact with the state's two Indian tribes

Gov. M. Jodi Rell is ready to take a gamble on Keno, but Attorney General Richard Blumenthal isn’t ready to leave anything to chance when it comes to Connecticut’s casinos.

Blumenthal says the state legislature should amend the compact with the state's two Indian tribes in southeastern Connecticut before legalizing the Keno gambling game.

Rell is counting on legalizing Keno to generate an estimated $50 million per year to help close the state's huge budget deficit.

“There should be no question that Keno can be introduced as a lottery game,” Rell said in a statement she released Monday in response to Blumenthal’s comment.

After all, during the 2005 dispute over the ‘PlayAway’ game offered by Foxwoods Resort Casino, Blumenthal described Keno as ‘a lottery-type game.’ At least 14 other states play the game, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.

Blumenthal however, doesn’t believe the odds are in Connecticut’s favor.

"Without an agreement with the tribes, or clarity in legal impact, the state is gambling more than $400 million for the sake of barely $60 million,'' Blumenthal said.

Rell defended her opinion by saying that she intends to honor and protect “Connecticut’s long-standing relationship with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes while establishing a new and much-needed revenue stream for (the) state.”

She said she would ensure that Keno is marketed and played in our state in a safe and responsible manner, including recognition of the risks of problem gambling.

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