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Rochester officials, residents hear Keno presentation

Union Leader Correspondent

August 16. 2017 12:28AM
Kelley-Jaye Cleland, a representative from the state's lottery commission, gave a short presentation to members of the city council in Rochester Tuesday night. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

Lou Archambault spoke out against Keno in Rochester during the city council meeting Tuesday. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

ROCHESTER — Keno was the topic of a public hearing in Rochester Tuesday night.

Kelley-Jaye Cleland, a representative from the state’s lottery commission, gave a short presentation to members of the city council. She explained that the state is trying to offer cities and towns an opportunity to fund full-day kindergarten.

Rochester councilors will decide in September whether or not to add Keno to the fall ballot.

Cleland said $1,100 is guaranteed per student each year under a new law recently signed by Gov. Chris Sununu. That could increase to $1,800.

Cleland said Keno is a rapid-draw numbers game, which is allowed in 16 states. Massachusetts does $900 million in Keno business every year, she said.

Cleland said the state hopes to distribute 250 licenses at $175,000 each. Establishments that obtain the license will need to pay an annual fee of $500 to keep it.

The hope is to raise $43 million in revenue for education, Cleland said.

Cleland stressed that Keno is a money-maker for the businesses and clubs that allow it, saying winners are more likely to buy more expensive drinks and food while frequenting those establishments.

Paul Lynch, who is the chairman of the school board in Rochester, said he sees the financial challenges districts face every year. He is in favor of getting more information about the Keno program. “I think the idea is at least worth exploring,” Lynch said.

Other residents in Rochester were not in favor of putting Keno on the ballot.

“Keno is the most destructive continuous play game,” Lou Archambault said.

Archambault said Keno targets people who are not well-educated, and more likely to compulsively spend money in the hopes of hitting a jackpot.

Gregg DeNobile said he’s been hearing for years about how the lottery system is supposed to help fund education, and this is just an extension of that sales pitch. He said funding education on money that may or may not be there, depending on the economy, is not smart.

“People only have X amount of money to spend on these types of games,” DeNobile said.

Education Rochester Local and County Government

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