Keno is now live in Connecticut after being popular in Massachusetts and New York, but it is not available everywhere in the state.
There are nine stores and bars across the state that have Keno live after the soft launch this week. Keno, which is an online game with instant win possibility, has been played in Massachusetts and New York City for years.
Chitan Patel owns Dada Grocery in Waterbury and it is one of the stores participating in the soft launch of Keno. Patel said Keno has increased foot traffic and he is hoping the game will help business and create “extra revenue every year.”
“Most of the day the busy time is because of the lottery in the store,” Patel said.
The more people playing keno, the more Patel said he stands to gain in commissions.
"Hopefully, it [doesn’t] take away from other games and scratch tickets and stuff,” Patel said.
However, some business owners said they are concerned people will spend more on Keno and less on food and drinks.
On Monday, Patel said lottery officials spent most of the day at his store explaining to customers how to play Keno and making sure the system worked correctly.
Here are is how you play Keno:
If the numbers come up, you win. Winners can win a top prize of $1 million on a dollar play. Games run every four minutes.
The state's Office of Policy and Management estimates that Connecticut will bring in nearly $13 million in the 2017 fiscal year from Keno alone.
The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling testified about Keno during the legislative process and had concerns about the online game. CCPG Executive Director Tamara L. Petro said they "advocated for a state contribution of anticipated Keno revenue."
Petro said they have "access and availability of Keno." They were worried about the "potential impact" on people in low-income neighborhoods, people trying to avoiding gambling after recovery and children.
"Children may not be legally permitted to play but we know it will happen with families who see it as benign play. It also is yet another form of gambling that children who are growing up in Connecticut will see as normative. This may pose as a risk factor for future gambling problems," Petro said.
Petro said the CCPG has a "responsible gambling partnership with the lottery." Lottery officials said they will create two public service announcements "to prevent and mitigate problem gambling along with the introduction of Keno."
To learn more about Keno, click here.
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