Keno is bringing millions of dollars into the state - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Keno is bringing millions of dollars into the state

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Keno is bringing money into the state (WFSB) Keno is bringing money into the state (WFSB)

Keno is now legal in Connecticut.

Last year, Connecticut joined 16 other states, including neighboring Massachusetts and New York.

Lawmakers approved it, hoping it would bring in badly needed revenue.

Ever since then, Chicago Sam’s in Cromwell put Keno tickets at the bar, and people like Chris Goff have found it entertaining.

“(It’s) pure luck and the odds are terrible,” Goff said, adding that he isn’t a big gambler, but he likes to play the numbers.

Win or lose, the state is making money.

"Revenue has increased week to week,” said Frank Farricker, chairman of the Connecticut Lottery Board.

The Connecticut Lottery said Keno is better than expected, considering it has only been in the state for a little more than half a year.

"I thought we would have a couple years where we would need to gather momentum in terms of knowledge,” Farricker said.

Since Keno was rolled out in April of 2016, it has brought in $35 million in gross sales.

The state’s general fund got $1,120,151 in fiscal year 2016.

For this year, $7,712,437.

"Very surprised…that's a lot of money in 7 months,” said Bob Caravelho, owner of Chicago Sam’s.

He wasn’t on board at first, but that is because the Connecticut Lottery wanted bars and restaurants to take Keno, along with a number of other games, including scratch tickets.

“Too much work, too much aggravation. For example, if you took scratch tickets you had to sell them or own them. So at the end of the game, if you haven't sold tickets and you had a package of 5,000 tickets,” Caravelho said.

So far, Keno has been pretty successful.

For Chicago Sam’s, they said they take in $200 dollars a day, and when you look at seven months since Keno has been in Connecticut, that's about $10,000.

"It paid off. People come in, they eat lunch, play a little Keno… customers we have never seen before,” Caravelho said.

Keno was proposed for years, and it has its critics.

Many don't favor more gambling.

The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling says about 1,000 residents are currently in treatment and about 6 percent of the population meet the criteria for problem gambling. 

Goff said it’s all about self-discipline, and knows for some that can be a problem.

"Everybody is responsible for themselves. We are all adults, we should be able to make our own choices, good or bad,” Goff said.

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